If you carry a smartphone around in your pocket, you have a GPS navigation system, a compass, an altimeter, and a very powerful computer at your fingertips. It’s the greatest navigational device ever created. To use this sextant of the modern era you’ve got to look down at a screen. You need to carry a phone around with you. It’s just not natural.
For this entry into the Hackaday Prize, [Vojtech Pavlovsky] has an innovative solution to direction finding that will give you a sixth sense. It’s a headband that turns your temples into the input for a clever way to find yourself around the city or a forest, and it does it with just an Arduino and a few other bits.
The idea behind the Ariadne Headband is to create a haptic navigation system for blind people, runners, bikers, or really anybody. It does this by mounting four vibration motors on a headband, connecting those motors to an Arduino, sniffing data from a digital compass, and getting data over Bluetooth from an Android app.
All of these parts come together to form a new sense — a sense of direction. By simply telling the app to make sure you’re always oriented North, or to guide you along the grid of city streets, this headband becomes an inconspicuous and extraordinarily useful way to get around.
There’s far more going on in the environment that humans have the senses to detect. Birds migrate with the help of the Earth’s magnetic field, and certain species of fish can detect electrical fields. For his Hackaday Prize entry, [Sebastian] is giving us a sixth sense. He’s building a device that allows anyone to detect the Earth’s magnetic field and find their way north for the summer.
The initial idea for [Sebastian]’s project came after his father’s inner ear was damaged. The doctor told him his brain needed to be trained to work with only one inner ear. If it works for balance, [Sebastian] wondered, why couldn’t the brain be trained to listen to an extra sensory input?
[Sebastian]’s device is an accelerometer and magnetometer, connected to a microcontroller that drives a few vibration motors. By mounting these motors around an ankle strap, [Sebastian] hopes to train his brain to listen to the magnetic fields.
So far, [Sebastian] has a device that can sense the Earth’s magnetic field and buzzes the motor closest to magnetic north. There’s still a lot of work to do, including filtering the magnetometer inputs, adding a ‘sleep’ mode, and putting Bluetooth functionality on board, but it’s already a very well-designed project.
Hackaday regular [Mikey Sklar] is no stranger to body modifications. He enjoys tweaking his body in ways that help him with day to day tasks, including a ruler tattoo on his arm and an RFID chip embedded in the web of his hand. Lately, he has been toying around with a less invasive means of getting a better feel for magnetic fields in his surroundings.
Turned on to magnetic rings by a friend, he now wears an epoxy-coated rare earth ring every day, changing the way he interacts with the world. He says that besides the obvious ability to tell when he’s near iron-heavy material, he can also feel cell phone calls, as the speaker draws the ring closer while producing sound.
He says that holding the electric cord of his tea kettle gave him the biggest start, making him feel as if he had been electrocuted, minus the actual shock.
While it’s not the most high-tech hack, [Mikey] is quite happy with the “sixth sense” this reasonably price ring has been able to provide – we just might have to try it out ourselves.
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.
Continue reading “Wearable Haptic Devices Bestow Sixth Senses”
Rehabilitating brain injuries where a patient’s sense of balance has been compromised is no easy task. Current solutions only trigger when the patient reaches a threshold and by then, it may already be too late for a graceful recovery. [Simon Merrett]’s SoleSense is being designed to give continuous feedback like a stock humans innate sense of balance. Therapists hope this will aid recovery by more closely imitating what most of us grew up with.
SoleSense relies on capacitive sensors arranged under the feet to know where the patients are placing their weight. [OSHPark] is providing the first round of flexible PCBs so some lucky sole is going to get purple inserts.
Outside of recovery, devices like this can teach better posture or possibly enhance a fully functioning sense of balance. That could improve physical performance. Who knows, we are finding new ways of perceiving the world all the time.
Remapping senses is a popular assistive technology and sound is ideal for the SoleSense to piggyback because brain injuries are less likely to affect hearing than other senses. Of course, senses can be remapped or even created. You could gain a sense of magnetic north or expand the range of light you can perceive.
What would you do to gain a sixth sense? Some of us would submit to a minor surgical procedure where a magnet is implanted under the skin. While this isn’t the first time magnet implants have been mentioned here on Hackaday, [The Thought Emporium] did a phenomenal job of gathering the scattered data from blogs, forum posts, and personal experimentation into a short video which can be seen after the break.
As [The Thought Emporium] explains in more eloquent detail, a magnet under the skin allows the implantee to gain a permanent sense of strong magnetic fields. Implantation in a fingertip is most common because nerve density is high and probing is possible. Ear implants are the next most useful because oscillating magnetic fields can be translated to sound.
For some, this is merely a parlor trick. Lifting paper clips and messing with a compass are great fun. Can magnet implants be more than whimsical baubles?
Continue reading “Magnet Implants, Your Cyborg Primer”
[Dave] loved his iPod nano so much that he implanted 4 magnets in his arm to hold it.
Ok, go ahead and shout “fanboy” at your screen and say something snide about apples products or lament the poor working conditions at foxconn. Got it out of your system? Cool.
Actually, if we had to guess, [Dave] really isn’t doing this all for his love of the device or the company. It is much more likely that he is just really into body modding and this was a convenient theme for a mod. We find the idea pretty interesting. We’ve seen implants before, but they are usually of the RFID type. Typically those are used for some kind of security or computer control.
Implanting a magnet, however, is interesting because it could almost give you a “sixth sense” You could detect what was magnetic, and how magnetic it was. If we were going to do something like this, we would probably go fully sub-dermal though to help avoid infection.
What other kind of implants could you realistically do with today’s technology to give yourself other senses?