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Uploaded on Sep 6, 2010
The Haptic Radar is a wearable and modular device allowing users to perceive and respond to spatial information using haptic cues in an intuitive and unobtrusive way. The system is composed of an array of "optical-hair modules", each of which senses range information and transduces it as an appropriate vibro-tactile cue on the skin directly beneath it. An analogy for our artificial sensory system in the animal world would be the cellular cilia, insect antennae, as well as the specialized sensory hairs of mammalian whiskers. In the future, this modular interface may cover precise skin regions or be distributed in over the entire body surface and then function as a double-skin with enhanced and tunable sensing capabilities. We speculate that for a particular category of tasks (such as clear path finding and collision avoidance), the efficiency of this type of sensory transduction may be greater than what can be expected from more classical vision-to-tactile substitution systems. Among the targeted applications of this interface are visual prosthetics for the blind, augmentation of spatial awareness in hazardous working environments, as well as enhanced obstacle awareness for car drivers (in this case the extended-skin sensors may cover the surface of the car).