Scientists develop a glove that allows you to feel what is deep down in the water

January 14, 2016
IE

Ph.D. candidates Aisen Carolina Chacin and Takeshi Ozu from the Empowerment Informatics program at Tsukuba University, Japan, have developed a glove with some very interesting properties. These gloves were designed to make a user feel an object deep down in the water without actually touching the object, or even going too close to it for that matter.

irukatact glove[Image Source: Aisencc]

“Our overall goal was to expand haptics,” according to Chacin. “How can you feel different textures or sense depth without actually touching the object? Vibration alone doesn’t cut it for me, or most people, for that matter.”

Many would wonder how exactly this technology might be of benefit to us. Well it can be used for many ways. One way is to use it to search for victims in the water or objects from a ship that might have sunken for example. Another very crucial application of this glove might be the safety benefits. The visibility in water is not so good actually, and in some cases, divers might not be able to see at all. In such a case, this glove might prove to be useful by allowing the divers to have a sense of what is around them even if they cannot actually see them.

irukatact glove in water[Image Source: Aisencc]

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The glove, called IrukaTact, works by using a MaxBotix MB7066 sonar sensor. It is a sensor that provides short or long detection by using ultrasound. Then there are three small motors that are attached to the index, middle, and ring fingers. The whole circuit is run by an Arduino Pro Mini. What basically happens is that the information from the ultrasonic sensors are fed into the Arduino Pro Mini. The Arduino Pro Mini then uses this information to run the three motors accordingly.

The motors actually pump water from the environment and direct the water to the corresponding fingertip of the user. This generates a kind of pressure feeling in the hand of the user and depending on how close or how far the object is from the user’s hand, the amount of pressure generated can be regulated by the Arduino in accordance with the information provided by the ultrasonic sensors. The IrukaTact gloves can sense an object from up to 2 feet.