While in a lake or ocean, have you ever wondered - or perhaps tried not to wonder - about what types of objects are deep down underwater?
A new glove created by Ph.D. candidates Aisen Caro Chacin and Takeshi Ozu at Japan's Tsukuba University can now provide some answers.
Get Handsy With Haptic Tech
The glove IrukaTact, named after the Japanese word for dolphin ("iruka"), translates sonic signals into haptic feedback to help wearers locate items below.
Wearers can "feel" what's below, thanks to the glove's pulsing jets of water, without having to dive down to physically touch an object.
IrukaTact uses a MaxBotix ultrasonic range-finding sonar sensor that points down from the wrist, along with three small motors and an Arduino Pro Mini microcomputer.
With motors placed on top of the index, middle and ring fingers, water is pumped from fingers to produce pressure feedback.
When the glove is in close proximity to an object underwater, greater pressure is exerted onto a finger. The sensor can receive and send sonic signals from up to two feet underwater, but the researchers hope to expand that range in the future.
Haptic Holograms Make Virtual Reality Touchy-Feely
The glove has been packaged as a DIY kit that could potentially be used to search for victims or sunken objects, as well as for specific hazards, such as sinkholes, according to Popular Science.
Applications beyond underwater haptic echolocation include potential interfaces for virtual reality, such as digital object simulation in water.
via Popular Science and AisenCaro.com