New device uses haptics to allow the visually impaired to sense their surroundings.

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Using 3d printed goggles holding stereo infrared sensors, scientists have developed a system for the visually impaired to navigate more effectively.  Users wear arms receptors which inform the user of objects in their path, according to the developer: “Distance information from the camera is mapped onto a 2D vibration array on a haptic feedback sleeve on the forearm which communicates the information to the wearer as sensations of touch“. Since the user wears the haptic sleeve, the hands are left free, unlike when using a cane.  The prototype of the system is said to work well and users could avoid objects and navigate an internal course. The study (and system?) is yet to be peer reviewed, so this technology could be a ways off but seems very promising. 

This reminds me of the backpack from years ago, where the user would get a vibration sensed feedback of their surroundings delivered to their back. Technology has of course come a long way since them, it would be great to have a sleeve that could deliver object notifications and object identification (which is slated for a future release of the system.).  It would not take much to get used to a haptic sleeve which could give feedback about your surroundings. 

Image of black goggles sitting on a wooden surface and Image of a person wearing black goggles

New device uses haptics to allow the visually impaired to sense their surroundings.

Link to original Yahoo article:

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