In our travels, we have recently stumbled upon and thought of a few interesting directional haptic feedback applications. That is to say, a system that provides the user with information through tactile feedback, which also includes a directional or positional component.
We previously wrote about Ford’s lane-keeping technology, a safety system which helps alert drivers when they begin to drift on the road. This reminded us of an article we previously read, actually over a year ago now.
Yale University had been working on what they called ‘vibro-seats’. These were designed to not only alert drivers to the presence of another car, but also provide information about the other car’s position by being able to vibrate on the left or right side, thus helping the driver locate the hazard.
We have also recently read about the Kinecthesia project. This is a belt-mounted device using the Xbox’s Kinect controller and vibration motors to aid the visually impaired. It can help the user sense the environment around them, through directional vibrations when objects are getting close. You may notice some of our encapsulated vibration motors, the 307-100 (since depreciated), in their blog post:
Many of these applications can be improved if the user is able to wear the device that provides haptic feedback, as then all information is with reference to their exact position. This, however, introduces the problem of mounting vibration motors to flexible material.
How do we solve that? I’m glad you asked. Stay tuned on our Application Bulletins for a comprehensive guide to making your haptic feedback designs wearable, coming out in the next couple of weeks. To be updated, we have both RSS feeds and email updates that keep you up to speed, you can sign up here!