One of my guilty pleasures is watching the television show Covert Affairs and one of my favorite characters from the show is Auggie; played by Christopher Gorham, because well, he’s a cool geek who just happens to be blind. Of all the tech that Auggie gets to play with on the show his electronic cane is definitely one of the most interesting, which is one reason why this story of the haptic sonar wristband for the blind caught my attention.
Created by Steve Hoefer the haptic sonar gauntlet is very similar to a glove which has the actual guts of the concept sitting on the back of your hand so that you won’t lose any sense of touch. From that vantage point the device sends out ultra-sonic pings and then feeds the response times into a pair of servos that then apply pressure proportional to the distance of the object.
Fortunately for you they have put together a video that explains it much better than I can.
Unfortunagely right now this is strictly a DIY project but apparently you can get the plans for putting it together from the Grathio Labs site as well as places where you can order the parts from.
This might not be as cool as Auggie’s cane but it comes pretty damn close and really, someone out there needs to make this thing happen for those of us who aren’t so good with a soldering gun.