The project suggests a new approach to communication and presents a new way of receiving information. Taking benefit of the skin tactile and temporal sensitivity we have created a method which allows sending an intuitive vocabulary of signals to the user through the skin. Thus opening a new and yet very little explored channel of sending accurate and specific information to users. The technology consists of small haptic drivers (produced by Texas instruments) combined with slim and affordable piezo transducers. This allows creating a great variety of haptic effects which could be specifically designed to create diverse and intuitive vocabularies that can represent different information in different scenarios. the size of the components allows the technology be embedded in existing or newly created wearables such as gloves, stickers or bracelets.
The technology is ready to be implemented in any potential scenario. Prototyped were presented to three potential user groups: Blind People, Surgeons, Military personel. All of them showed great interest and saw great potential in the product.
By turning the skin to a new channel of data input the technology removes the need to rely on the auditory and visual channel which are sometimes not available to the user or overloaded with other information. This approach allows blind people easier use of graphical interfaces, enables surgeons spend less time looking at monitors instead of the patient, and could provide tactical security teams with a new and discreet communication channel.
The required development is mainly designing a specific product that meets the user needs. At the current state we have a general prototype designed to demonstrate the potential and the intuitive learning curve of the device and the vocabulary. The next step would be to carry a deeper research to understand what would be the best way to design an actual product.
DRV2667 Arduino Library can be found here: https://github.com/yurikleb/DRV2667