This is the second iteration of the prototype presented in Nov 10th, and it builds on the feedback provided during the first exploration exercise.
ALL feedback that I received was remarkably insightful, but during these two weeks of refinement I focused on some elements first. I chose those ones that I consider more difficult to implement or improve, either because they represent to re-think the strategy or because the technical challenges involved are higher.
Then, for this iteration I focused on:
+ Improvement of “tactile” sensation
+ Static sensors
+ Sensor attached to other parts of the body or even to a cane
This new prototype, contains an infra-red (IR) sensor attached in the globe and introduces a softer glove that clearly increases the tactile sensitivity. The IR sensor is used to range objects close to the glove and the idea is to serve a complementary source of guidance.
The current behavior is as follows:
-The Sonar sensor -which is located at the goggles- detects objects in the range of 2 to 3 meters. Unlike the 1st prototype, the sonar is not rotating but instead is fixed and consequently points to where the head of the user is pointing to. The feedback it provides is in the form of a sequence of pulses in three vibration motors that vary in both; intensity and frequency as a function of the range detected. Thus, only one vibration motor is actuated at a time.
-The IR sensor works as an additional source of feedback. If an object is very close to the hand it will trigger a hard ping at the forefinger as a warning to avoid a collision.
Findings & Insights
While the addition of a sensor outside the goggles proved to be a good way to complement the detection process, using an IR sensor did not provide the robustness needed. Based on the tests performed so far, it’s recommended to try other places for additional sensing such like a cane or other parts of the body.
Critique provided during the session, suggest the idea of placing a 360º sensing strategy which would allow provide feedback of objects approaching from the back. This is seen to be compatible with the idea of having either a rotating sonar or LiDAR or additional sensors placed in the back of the body.
*Continue working to incorporate LiDAR sensor
*Refine the harness to make it softer and easy to wear
*Refine aesthetics to take it to the SF look
*Explore additional tactile strategies to obtain the most effective
The main SF story inspiring this project is DAREDEVIL
Another inspiration is in Ironman, in regards to how super-technology can be dressed and the synergy between the body and the device.
Other source of inspiration was the personal impression I get from blind people, I admire how brave they are and their capability to overcome obstacles. The way how our body can adapt our senses is simply amazing.
There are other good examples of body adaptation, like what happens with people that suffers a stroke and they loose a cognitive function such as memory or speech. By practicing some exercises the brain is capable to re-assign other zones to take over functions left by the damage zones.
< Technology for fast adaptation >
- Adaptability Is THE characteristic that has allowed us to stay alive.
- Our sun is a limited resource , so ultimately, the human race will have to adapt to live out of earth in order to survive. This means to adapt to other gravity level, other sources of energy…etc
Human race evolves -adapts- by nature but this might take thousands of years!
Technology for fast adaptation has to do with creating devices that allows us to adapt to dramatic changes in conditions or environment within the time scale of a person.
A good example of technology for fast adaptation is found in the story of Neil Harbisson who was born with a rare condition in which he does not see colors but all his vision i s in grey-scale. Technology for fast adaptation was developed for him to hears the colors.
WHERE AM I GOING?
The objective is to create a device that could provide insights on the directions to follow in order to create a superior experience to blind people navigating a city. So the experience provided must be clearly superior but must be done with current technologies.
The prototype is not meant to provide a smooth or clean HW implementation (e.g. the harness from glove to goggles is still needed)
The are two main aspects for future development here:
+ Hardware (excellent execution of current technologies)
A consumer electronics firm (like Samsung) is a suitable company to take this prototype and concept to the “product” level. They would be able to provide all the robustness of the product. Such firm could start with products for safety assurance in industrial environments.
It’s important to develop the right strategy to communicate the spatial environment through a glove or a larger wearable device. Braille code and is a good baseline but certainly it must be enhanced or complemented in order to communicate spatial information which is something yet to be developed. A Multidisciplinary team of researchers would fit perfect to take on here.