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Tactile Camera For The Blind

Back of shirt has thousands of "braille pixels" that register a 3d picture coming from wearer's glasses
  [vote for,

The blind person wears a binocular set of camera that translate the information into a 3d braille picture, sort of like those pin screens.

Thousands of braille bumps are little dull pins actuated by solenoids, pushing against the skin to varying degrees necessary to impart the feeling of a picture to the person's back. The back is chosen because it offers the greatest and most flattened area, it's out of the person's way and doesn't flex as much as the front does when the person sits down.

Another way to do this this might be by having an array of thousands of tiny electro-stimulators that would just give you varying levels of tingle.

Design has been updated: The glove is worn on the hand featuring little pokey bits on the palm, either mechanical or electrically stimulating, and a camera lens is in the middle of the palm. The wearer holds the palm towards what they want to "see" and are given a 3d braille representation of the scene that actually moves as you move your hand around, like you're feeling a braille picture. See illustration.

doctorremulac3, May 03 2015

Prior art. Pin_20Matrix_20Terminal
Check out the last link. [2 fries shy of a happy meal, May 03 2015]

Real Time Tactile Scene Creating Glove Cam http://fc02.deviant...rkitaly-d5h1weg.jpg
I really like this idea. [doctorremulac3, May 04 2015]

Car http://ecx.images-a...gEMx2L._SL1500_.jpg
Aim the glove at a car, this impression presses against your hand. [doctorremulac3, May 05 2015]

Here we go again. http://www.livescie...blind-navigate.html
They do vibrations as opposed to my moving braille pins but same idea basically. [doctorremulac3, Nov 27 2015]

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       Maybe, but I was thinking the biggest area would give the best resolution and the back would be the most out of the way. Also this would need to work for blind women as well so breasts might pose a problem.   

       I'm wondering how/if the brain would paint pictures in the mind's eye at some point. I know the brain has an amazing ability to adapt and sort of re-wire itself as necessary. Like, would you just picture an apple in a dish without having to think about it?   

       I remember a friend of mine who speaks a bunch of different languages telling me he was listening to a Spanish radio station and it wasn't until they started playing the music that he even realized they were speaking Spanish. He was just registering the message for a few moments without being cognizant of how the message was getting to his brain. So I wonder if at some point you'd get so proficient at deciphering these moving lumps on you're back that you'd actually "see" them.   

       But to the front vs back thing again, maybe you could have a 360 degree "touch suit" with a 360 degree camera setup on your glasses that would allow you to "see" in all directions simultaneously. Then you might have something that would augment sighted people's awareness of their surroundings as well, perhaps for law enforcement or the military. Somebody sneaking up on you could be felt as a growing "poke in the back".
doctorremulac3, May 03 2015

       Whoa! Somebody did the stimulator thing? Don't know whether to be angry I thought of it last, proud that I thought of it too or uncomfortable that I thought of it and wouldn't have done anything with it like the person who thought of it first did. Think I'll go with emotionally neutral.
doctorremulac3, May 04 2015

       Cool concept. (Both your idea and the similar implementation) Hmm, the tongue version is nice since you can put it on easily and one size easily fits all. It seems like a back mounted version would be less noticeable by other people, and could work while the user is talking.   

       Regarding sensitivity and resolution, how much of the back's insensitivity is due to disuse vs. having fewer nerve endings? Maybe if you were paying attention to the skin on your back and there was actually something interesting to feel back there, after a few days or weeks the sensitivity and/or resolution might improve.
scad mientist, May 04 2015

       Wonder if it would tickle. You could tickle somebody to death just by dancing like an idiot in front of them.
doctorremulac3, May 04 2015

       //how much of the back's insensitivity is due to disuse vs. having fewer nerve endings? //   

       If you Google "sensory homunculus", you'll find images of the human body scaled according to the area of brain cortex that "senses" them. The trunk in general is very under-represented in the sensory cortex.   

       In terms of density of nerve endings (which is slightly different from cortical representation), the standard test is to touch the body with two points (like the points on a pair of compasses), and see how far apart they have to be before the person can distinguish two points from one point. The distance on the back is a lot bigger than the distance on the hand.   

       On the other hand, the brain (and perhaps the peripheral nervous system) is quite plastic, so someone wearing a device like this might develop greater sensitivity in their back.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 04 2015

       Wow, that's pretty cool. There's a way to actually test resolution of touch.   

       You could have the pokey bits on gloves I suppose. There are other sensitive areas of the body but, well... yea. Gloves would work.   

       How about this: Put a lens on the glove's palm that would transfer the picture to the palm allowing you to move it like you're feeling a braille picture?   

       Hey, I like that. I REALLY like that.   

       It would work. You'd move the glove around "looking" at various things. "That's obviously a car, there's a dog walking over there. Tree, tree, tr.. no, telephone pole. Turn around, how tall is that building? Two, no, three stories. Ohh! There's a bird that just flew by! Ok, walking now. Feeling the sidewalk, oops! Mailbox coming. Pedestrian, ok, there's the curb. Cars stopped at the light. Luckily I have the red light/green light sensor option. Ok, crossing now, better "look both ways" whoa, that guy coming down the street is closing fast, better wait till he passes. I'm blind after all, people can't be expected to stop for blind people. Ok, the fast jerk's passed. No cars coming either way, safe to go now. On my way to the store to do some shopping. My glove also has the feature that reads packages with the camera and relays the words to my earpiece. Glad I got the high end model."   

       I've wanted to do a Kickstarter campaign all my life. I think this is it. Something that could free blind people to do many of the same things sighted people do. Take a walk, marvel at the height of a building, count the trees in the park, reach up and feel the shape of a cloud, touch the moon and the stars in the sky, experience the visual beauty of the world around us that most of us take for granted every day.
doctorremulac3, May 04 2015

       Getting a feel for the city.
So cool.

       Orientation of the hands could allow for feel of the upcoming path surfaces and potholes as well. (+)   

       Wow, thanks LimpNotes, there's a whole science category of this stuff. The only thing missing is the last piece. The "virtual 3d real time relief model of the world glove."   

       I really, really want to do this.
doctorremulac3, May 04 2015


       Good point. If sighted people started buying these for that purpose you might have a bit of a PR problem.   

       Wow, that went from humanitarian invention to potential perv tool pretty quick.
doctorremulac3, May 05 2015

       Back on topic...   

       The glove concept sounds like it could be very useful for "looking" at details. But if you have to move the glove around to see things, it's like looking at the world through a paper towel tube.   

       That can be fixed with a hybrid system. A back mounted system could provide peripheral "vision", tuned to be especially sensitive to motion. The glove could be used to focus in a specific direction. Since the resolution won't be that great, a zoom feature for the glove cameras would probably be very helpful. That would need some careful design to make it convenient to operate and to provide feedback on the zoom setting so the user can more easily estimate the size/distance of the objects being examined.
scad mientist, May 05 2015

       [scad mientist], don't think of it as looking through a tube; it's more like running your hand over the world, to "feel" what it looks like. And it would depend on the field of view of the glovecam, which could easily be adjustable on-the-go (wide-angle for walking and general stuff, "zoomed in" for details).
I wonder what kind of resolution a palm is capable of working with effectively? Would it be 30x30, or 1000x1000? To the lab! Experiments must be done!
neutrinos_shadow, May 05 2015

       //To the lab! Experiments must be done!//   

doctorremulac3, May 05 2015

       Aaaaaand idea stolen. See link.   

       My finalized design with the glove is really the way to go though. The idea that a blind person could sweep their hand "pano" style across their view and sense what's around them, including people and vehicles around them, the moon and stars in the sky, even aircraft flying overhead, all in a simple to wear glove is really the way to go.
doctorremulac3, Nov 27 2015

       Adding an alternative and possible improvement to this. The camera and pin matrix might also be put on the back of the hand so the person isn't hampered in holding stuff. They just aim the back of their hand at what they want to "see" and when they're done, resume using that hand as they normally would.
doctorremulac3, Nov 28 2015

       //I wonder what kind of resolution a palm is capable of working with effectively? Would it be 30x30, or 1000x1000?//   

       The spatial resolution of the palm is something like 5-15mm, giving you maybe a 10x10 (possibly 20x20) resolution.   

       Take two pens or pencils, hold them so the points are 5mm apart. Close your eyes and touch them to your palm. They'll feel no different than when you use just one pen. Better yet, get someone else to do it to you. When they're about 1-1.5cm apart, you can certainly tell one from two.   

       On the fingertips, the resolution is something like a couple of millimetres. (NOTE: you can, of course, feel a grain of sand on your fingertip even if it's a half a millimetre in size; but that is not the same as resolution.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 28 2015

       Guess the test would be pretty simple to do.   

       Get some pictures that are 3d relief renderings of various scenes, close your eyes and see if you can tell what's going on.   

       Actually reminds me of an exhibit I saw at some science museum where you reach into a box and feel various things and try to figure out what they are. Took a little effort.   

       I'm thinking that one thing this would be good at was sensing motion, for instance while crossing the street. If you sense a big roundish thing crossing your palm very quickly you can bet it's probably a car.   

       Thinking you could add proximity function with anything from a light electrical tingle to vibration or pressure. This would allow you to walk around hallways, open doors, etc. Basically like a virtual cane.
doctorremulac3, Nov 28 2015

       //Guess the test would be pretty simple to do.//   

       I don't think a quick test would be fair. For this to work, the brain would have to re-map tactile inputs to the visual cortex, just deaf people re- map audio inputs to their visual cortex. That would take a while.   

       Put it another way - someone who has never used braille will be almost incapable of telling a cell of three dots from a cell of two or four dots. It takes a while.   

       Incidentally, braille standards generally involve a dot-spacing of about 2.5mm, which suggests that that is the best resolution routinely available from fingertips.   

       (To be clear - I think this is a good idea, but you'd want to use a high-res part of the body.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 28 2015

       Well, I don't see any technical impediments to this so the question would be if, with that resolution, the information you get from a few dots on your fingers would be useful enough to create an image in the mind's eye.   

       THAT part should be pretty easy to test.   

       //you'd want to use a high-res part of the body//   

       There's a dirty joke in there someplace.   

       Another thought, not necessarily a good one, you could have little servos in the fingers that would "shape" your hand like you were touching the object the camera was looking at. (Or cameras I should say since it's 3d)   

       So if you're looking at a ball, the glove would form your hand into a ball shape. Hmm.
doctorremulac3, Nov 28 2015

       //THAT part should be pretty easy to test. //   

       No, really, that's what I'm saying - it wouldn't be. You'd get some sort of impression, but you'd be analysing it with the tactile parts of your brain instead of the visual parts. Give your brain time to rewire, and the results would be unimaginably different.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 28 2015

       I'm thinking that for this to be really useful, it would have to be something that didn't take THAT much time to learn to use.   

       I'm imagining walking down a hallway and a line crosses your hand from right to left, a right turn in the hallway. A horizontal line moves from the tip of your fingers to the palm as you walk: you're approaching a curb. You make out a mass in front of you, it's a person, the mass gets smaller, the person is walking away.   

       You're right, it wouldn't be easy to test, but easier than making this thing work once the concept is proven.   

       Somebody needs to attach a camera to a pin screen and see what happens. I wonder if this would be a good crowd funding project. Can you get research crowd funded? That is, research that might not yield any success? I think the camera and pin matrix actuator should be... $10,000? Once proof of concept is established it's just a matter of miniaturizing the system.   

       Ok, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to get a pin screen and have somebody take objects and push them into the other side, see if I can tell what it is.   

       There you go. Proof of concept test for about twenty bucks plus $5 shipping and handling.
doctorremulac3, Nov 28 2015


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