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Old 09-20-2007, 08:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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bren's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sydney AU
Posts: 336
Virtual whiskers for humans

Nice to see we are getting tools to sense if robots are creeping up on us, but probably not so cool if they disable them on us just prior to The Uprising

Japanese inventors have created a headband that allows users to sense their surroundings without seeing them, in a manner similar to a cat's whiskers.

The head-mounted haptic device, developed at Tokyo University, allows the wearer to "feel" surroundings and movements from a distance.

It is made up of a series of infrared sensors that act as invisible whiskers, or antenna sensors, reports New Scientist magazine.

"Our first prototype provides the wearer with 360 degrees of spatial awareness," researchers stated on their website.

The researchers have posted a video showing the volunteers instinctively dodging incoming objects as they wear the headband and a blindfold.

The seated volunteers move their heads away from a round ball coming towards them while wearing the headband.

Another video clip shows how the same device can be used to navigate through a virtual maze.

Researchers said they believed the artificial wearable whiskers would eventually function like a "double-skin" for enhanced sensing capabilities.

The device could be used as visual prosthetics for the blind, for spatial awareness in dangerous working environments and for enhanced obstacle awareness for car drivers, where the extended-skin sensors could cover the surface of a car.
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