This new video about [Pranav Mistry’s] SixthSense project doesn’t bring us much that we haven’t seen before. At least, not on that project. What really caught our eye was the device he shows off at the beginning of the video. Using two old ball mice, he constructed a grip style input device. It is simple and elegant and we can definitely see using this in future hacks. Not only is it cheap and apparently effective, it seems as though it could be constructed in a very short amount of time. all you need are the wheels that spin when the ball moves, 4 springs and some string. Why didn’t we think of that?
The device works by connecting two antennas to an enclosure that contains a speaker. The enclosure is intended to be worn on the back with a harness securing it in place and wrapping the arms around the wearer’s body. The antennas are incorporated into a pair of gloves. When the antennas pick up electromagnetic radiation, the speaker emits a low frequency sound waves. They vibrate the enclosure and the arms, which in turn vibrate the body, signaling to the wearer that he or she is in an electromagnetic field, also referred to as hertzian space. A good deal of detail about the project can be found on his blog, or if you prefer, download his thesis paper in(PDF).
Engadget recently posted a story about a flexible tactile display that can be wrapped around any part of the body and give haptic feedback to the user. The research team from Korea’s Sungkyunkwan University that developed the device are focusing on applications like Braille for the visually impaired or transmitting tactile data to a remote user, but this is just the beginning; the applications for wearable haptic feedback are wide open.