Hackaday Prize Entry: HaptiVision Creates A Net Of Vibration Motors

HaptiVision is a haptic feedback system for the blind that builds on a wide array of vibration belts and haptic vests. It’s a smart concept, giving the wearer a warning when an obstruction comes into sensor view.

The earliest research into haptic feedback wearables used ultrasonic sensors, and more recent developments used a Kinect. The project team for HaptiVision chose the Intel RealSense camera because of its svelte form factor. Part of the goal was to make the HaptiVision as discreet as possible, so fitting the whole rig under a shirt was part of the plan.

In addition to a RealSense camera, the team used an Intel Up board for the brains, mostly because it natively controlled the RealSense camera. It takes a 640×480 IR snapshot and selectively triggers the 128 vibration motors to tell you what’s close. The motors are controlled by 8 PCA9685-based PWM expander boards.

The project is based on David Antón Sánchez’s OpenVNAVI project, which also featured a 128-motor array. HaptiVision aims to create an easy to replicate haptic system. Everything is Open Source, and all of the wiring clips and motor mounts are 3D-printable.

12 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: HaptiVision Creates A Net Of Vibration Motors

  1. A similar approach that isn’t so large, would be to use an array of electrodes providing a mild “shock” to a point in the same fashion as these vibrators. Or maybe, use small, vibrating piezoelectric devices? Their intensity can also be modulated for closeness or some other property that will provide more impact to the synthetic “vision”. Another benefit is that both of these will have much lower power requirements too, and their construction could possibly be monolithic, maybe even 3D printed. There’s a lot of work in making self-driving cars “see” better. Maybe that could be exploited here too? How about something like one of those larger eWatches as the foundation? Several years ago I got a TI EZ430 Chronos that uses one of their older generation wireless micros. That could interface to a vision pack. Maybe it’s back could be provisioned with a simple electrode array. Just thinking “out loud” here.

    1. Scientists once used an array of electrodes that was placed on the tongue of blind person, these were controlled by camera he was wearing on his head. With this system he was able to “see” well enough to grab ball thrown to him by one of scientists. I read about it in early 2000’s…

    1. That orange explosives color might not help with that.
      But anyway, you can fit it in a shroud with a large logo saying ‘Haptic-Sense’ or some such to make it clearer.

      It’s odd, these days a plastic bag also looks like a bomb, and shoppers seem calm in the presence of them, and yet I bet you are right that this would freak many out.

  2. Don’t know if this is possible, but the wiring could be simplified greatly if you you had a row/column multiplexing scheme to energize the motors one at a time fast enough to
    produce the desired effect.

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