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06/18/2014

Vibrating vest to guide the visually impaired

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    The vest will combine the technology of driverless cars with the natural skills of bats and pit vipers to help the visually impaired navigate.
    The system will feature a vest equipped with sensors and emitters that will be arranged to provide 360 degrees of detection. The system will include a LiDAR laser, which is used in driverless cars; ultrasound, used by bats for echo-location; and infrared, used by pit vipers for thermal location, which combine to deliver extremely effective obstacle detection.
    As the sensors and emitters detect the nearby objects, the system will convert the input into 'a tactile code' onto a T-shirt made of electro-active polymers. These vibrations will not only be able to reveal the location of the object, but also its shape--an ability that will make the system different than its counterparts. The system could also be used by firefighters or military personnel, or anyone else who may need to work with decreased vision.
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