Nancy Owano in her Feb. 23, 2013 article for phys.org, Wearable display meets blindfold test for sensing danger, features a project (SpiderSense) from the University of Illinois at Chicago that will be presented at the Augmented Human ’13 conference to be held March 7 – 8, 2013 in Stuttgart, Germany,
The researchers behind SpiderSense define it as a wearable device that projects the wearer’s near environment on the skin. The suit gives the user a special directional awareness of surrounding objects. They have explored a scenario where multiple sites over the body, rather than just hands, are fitted with transducers. These transducers relay information about the wearer’s environment into tactile sensations.
Modules are distributed across the suit to give the wearer as near to 360-degree ultrasound coverage as possible. The system modules can scan the environment; they are controlled through a Controller Box. The box carries the power source, the electronics and the system logic. The modules and the Controller Box are connected by means of ten pin ribbon cables. The researchers said that, in the future, this could be replaced by a wireless Bluetooth connection.
You can find out more about SpiderSense from its presentation webpage on the University of Illinois at Chicago Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) website,
Sensing the environment through SpiderSense
authors: Mateevitsi,V., Haggadone, B., Leigh, J., Kunzer, B., Kenyon, R.V.
Augmented Human ’13, 4th International Conference in Cooperation with ACM SIGCHI, Stuttgart, Germany
Recent scientific advances allow the use of technology to expand the number of forms of energy that can be perceived by humans. Smart sensors can detect hazards that human sensors are unable to perceive, for example radiation. This fusing of technology to human’s forms of perception enables exciting new ways of perceiving the world around us. In this paper we describe the design of SpiderSense, a wearable device that projects the wearer’s near environment on the skin and allows for directional awareness of objects around him. The millions of sensory receptors that cover the skin presents opportunities for conveying alerts and messages. We discuss the challenges and considerations of designing similar wearable devices.
A Feb. 22, 2013 article by Hal Hodson for New Scientist inspired Owano who acknowledges that to be the case in her end notes,
Mateevitsi [Victor Mateevitsi] tested the suit out on students, getting them to stand outside on campus, blindfolded, and “feel” for approaching attackers. Each wearer had ninja cardboard throwing stars to use whenever they sensed someone approaching them. “Ninety five per cent of the time they were able to sense someone approaching and throw the star at them,” says Mateevitsi.
The SpiderSense presentation is scheduled for March 7, 2013 at the Augmented Human ’13 conference or as it’s also known, the 4th International Conference in Cooperation with ACM SIGCHI (Association for Computing Machinery, Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction). The team, as per Hal Hodson’s article, hopes to start human trials of SpiderSense with visually impaired individuals.