Haptic RADAR: Electronic Whiskers

[thomph-zhu] sent in this interesting project. If you’ve ever wished for cat like senses, you’ll dig this. It’s a set of electronic whiskers – it uses IR to detect nearby objects, and vibrates against your head upon detection. It’s definitely an interesting use of tactile feedback. The initial idea is for construction safety, but this could be useful for plenty of other applications. (Robotic control, etc)

22 thoughts on “Haptic RADAR: Electronic Whiskers

  1. That’s pretty dang cool. I used to do Aikido with a couple blind ladies. They got to be pretty good at sensing things, but with this they would have been kicking my butt all over the dojo. (Well, as far as butt kicking goes in Aikido.)

  2. If we were to advance this a little… replace the whiskers with laser range finders, and replace the vibrators with a direct connection to the nervous system. Can’t get much closer than that to a “spider-sense.”

    Also, this would make the “I’m not touching you” game kids like to play a whole lot more annoying….

  3. I agree with the blindness comment, this would be great, especially for people who have recently become blind. I’m in the military and I think the idea of useing this as a “eyes in the back of your head” would be great. It looks pretty inexpensive so I don’t think the uses for it will be limited in any way really, as to how and where it can be used. The only way I think it could be better is if the helmet was more of a hard shell and you could just have a servo push against your head harder and harder until something was actualy touching you, so you would feel it before it felt you kinda.

  4. This is pretty cool, but I think as #7 said, if this was hooked up to the nervous system it would be more useful…
    I’m thinking of an old hack involving a grid of electrodes stuck on a persons tongue attached to a camera. Maybe this would be a good alternative to vibrations considering how sensitive one’s tongue is.

  5. It’s already been said, but the first thing I thought when reading this was “Spider Sense”. The problem with something like this having a larger range would be everything in your immediate environment triggering it.

  6. I have been thinking about how to construct this type of thing for quite some time, but my very limited knowledge of microcontrollers has completely stopped me.

    Now, I am thinking of using Ultrasound and the Arduino board (http://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/UltrasoundSensor) to do something similar to what these dudes have done. Only, the ultrasound sensors featured on the page I linked to has a range of 3 meters.. Would be a cool hack! Always wanted a “sixth sense” but thus far, neither watching Naruto, Hunter X Hunter or Star Wars has yielded any results. =(

  7. 16: As a matter of fact, making an extremely rudimentary sixth sense is not hard at all! Do you know what a photoresistor is? It’s an electronics component that changes resistance depending on how much light that hits it.

    Now, get a 9V battery, wire one terminal to your tounge, the other to one of the photoresistors legs, then wire the photoresistors other leg to your tounge.

    Voltage will be applied across your tounge, how much depending on how much light hits the photoresistor. Cover it so no light hits it and you feel pretty much nothing. Expose it to light, and you will feel it even how strong the source of light is!

    Nothing huge, just the simplest experiment of this kind I have been able to come up with. =P

  8. This would be pretty good, cause just today i hit my head. I hit it pretty hard cause it was bleeding a little, thank god only a little. Well nice contraption.

    Excuse my english, im from estonia.

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