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Augmenting spatial awareness with Haptic Radar

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3 Author(s)
Cassinelli, A. ; Dept. of Inf. Phys. & Comput., Tokyo Univ., Tokyo ; Reynolds, Carson ; Ishikawa, M.

We are developing a modular electronic device to allow users to perceive and respond simultaneously to multiple spatial information sources using haptic stimulus. Each module of this wearable "haptic radar" acts as an artificial hair capable of sensing obstacles, measuring their range and transducing this information as a vibro-tactile cue on the skin directly beneath the module. Our first prototype (a headband) provides the wearer with 360 degrees of spatial awareness thanks to invisible, insect-like antennas. During a proof-of-principle experiment, a significant proportion (87%, p = 1.26 * 10-5) of participants moved to avoid an unseen object approaching from behind without any previous training. Participants reported the system as more of a help, easy, and intuitive. Among the numerous potential applications of this interface are electronic travel aids and visual prosthetics for the blind, augmentation of spatial awareness in hazardous working environments, as well as enhanced obstacle awareness for motorcycle or car drivers (in this case the sensors may cover the surface of the car).

Published in:

Wearable Computers, 2006 10th IEEE International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

11-14 Oct. 2006