Did you ever want to be able to feel something far away from you, while under water? Probably not, that’s something too specific to actually consider. Well, now you can feel distant objects underwater with IrukaTact.
How the device works
The researchers behind the new technology are Aisen Caro Chacin and Takeshi Ozu, PhD applicants from the Empowerment Informatics program at the Tsukuba University in Japan.
They got their inspiration from dolphins, and you can tell that by the device’s name. Iruka means dolphin in Japanese, so the new device’s is basically called Dolphin Touch.
And the name is actually very legit, as the device resembles a glove, and it uses sonar, as well as haptic technology in order to detect obstacles in the water up to two feet.
IrukaTact works with a pretty neat combination of technologies, using a 3D printer to get most of the components, a small sonar device, an Arduino Pro Mini, as well as the same type of technology that makes game controllers vibrate.
The device works by employing the MaxBotix MB7066 ultrasonic device in order to pick up obstacles in the way. This prompts the Arduino to send a signal to the small water pumps in the fingers, which produce small water jets that intensify in pressure depending on the object’s proximity to the wearer.
The jets are directed towards the inside of the fingers, and the closer the wearer is to an obstacle, the higher the pressure becomes.
Applications of a dolphin’s touch
First of all, let’s talk about the range. Sure, two feet isn’t really that much, but the brilliant minds behind the device are confident that they can increase it without any hitches.
Now that the small range is out of the way, here is what the developers had in mind for the device.
The most important use that the two students thought of was rescue missions. The device would allow rescuers to feel around in murky waters, and be able to tell when they might be approaching an object, potentially the rescue target.
However, the device has near infinite applications, depending on your imagination. They are already considering using the IrukaTact in virtual reality simulations, so as to provide extra immersion.
Another use would be in exploratory underwater missions, as it would allow divers to better pick up objects on the ocean’s floor.
But the device is definitely not going to stay limited to those uses, as the developers released the instructions for building the device online, along with the necessary 3D printable models.
Image source: Wikimedia