Device of the Week [Sensory]: The BrainPort Vision Device

A B O U T

The BrainPort Vision Device aids the visually impaired to perceive their surroundings by enhancing their tastebuds. Consisting of a frame camera and an electro tactile array, the user is able to interpret their environment by feeling the stimuli on the surface of their tongue. More specifically, the pictures captured on the camera that is mounted on framed glasses are converted to a pattern of electronic impulses and then sent to the electro tactile array which is attached to the user’s tongue. The impulses are then sent to the different sensory centers of the brain for interpretation.

It may seem strange at first, but the visually impaired who have tried this device were able to make out shapes and people after a while of practice. This marks a monumental peak in technology, especially in the sensory aspect.

A D V A N T A G E S
  • Able to aid the visually impaired into “seeing” or sensing their surroundings
  • Enable the visually impaired to be more independent in life
  • The device can be used for not just the visually impaired, but people with other conditions as well, such as quadriplegia.
  • Users can operate it independently with a handheld controller
  • It uses a rechargeable battery
D I S A D V A N T A G E S
  • The usage of tastebuds in the tongue it is slightly inconvenient especially during mealtimes when the device needs to be removed.
  • Debates have said that this device doesn’t really let the user see objects, but instead only perceiving them in their brain
  • This technology cannot be adapted to work on senses the brain does not already have.
  • The BrainPort requires daily usage in order for the brain to register this sensation and better identify the body’s surroundings using this method.
  • The cost of the device is $10,000 so it cannot be afforded by many
  • A minor side effect will be the metallic taste from the electro tactile array
References

BrainPort Vision Device

https://science.howstuffworks.com/brainport3.htm

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-BrainPort-Vision-Device-is-a-sensory-substitution-system-that-down-samples-video-from_fig1_262609186

Device of the Week [IoT]: Kuri Mobile Robot

A B O U T

The Kuri Mobile Robot is a home robot that is designed for entertainment in the household. Unlike robots that focus on house cleanliness, and connectivity with the different devices in your home, Kuri is like a smart pet that can provide real-time emotional feedback to the voice and provide audio entertainment. It is similar to a monitor camera as live feedback can be activated by the user of the application to see what is going on in the household and it also sends notifications to the application user if there is unusual activity in certain areas of the home. Customized messages and missions can be told to Kuri through the application, such as “check if Suzy has returned home” or “make sure the cat is not on the kitchen table”, and Kuri would know how to navigate to the specific room or area to check. (idk about you but I would really want this in my home)

Internet of Things is displayed through the interaction between the functions of Kuri and how it can be activated through an application from a user that is not in the same space as Kuri. This robot is pretty suitable for households with children or pets.

An overview of the functions of Kuri

Interview with the creator company of Kuri, Mayfield Robotics, about the tech behind Kuri

A D V A N T A G E S
  • Provides real-time monitoring of household through a built-in camera and application
  • Able to navigate around a household and identify each specific room
  • Using mapping sensors, it is able to navigate smoothly and avoid obstacles
  • Face recognition allows Kuri to recognise the people of the household. It also can identify animals.
  • Kuri can provide auditory entertainment through speakers
  • Small motors allow Kuri to show certain emotions and feedback to certain remarks
  • Voice sensors and rotary motors allow Kuri to turn towards the direction of the person calling it
  • VERY CUTE STRUCTURE!!! (looks like a baby penguin)
D I S A D V A N T A G E S
  • Unable to navigate up and down stairs
  • May not be as practical as it only provides monitoring and audio functions

Unfortunately, the Kuri robot has cancelled its production and Mayfield Robotics has closed down. Hopefully in the future a new company could create a similar robot with more functions 🙁

 

References

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2018/8/21/17765330/mayfield-robotics-kuri-robot-shutting-down

softwaretestinghelp.com/iot-devices/

https://robots.ieee.org/robots/kuri/

 

LEDsketch: Erasable Graffiti

Link to PDF here

Erasable Graffiti is an interactive work that involves communication between ZigSim on mobile and Processing on desktop. I decided to play with using 2d touch to produce different shapes depending on how many fingers are pressing on the phone screen. I’ve decided to use 2 fingers and when one finger is on the screen, the finger can only produce circles, and the second finger that presses on the same screen will produce squares.

Below is the video of the final product

(tbh i do think the circle patterns look like ratatouille)

This project was fun and interesting, considering that I was still new on using ZigSim and half the time I was still wondering how to understand the different types of data on both software. It would be nice if these kinds of interactions between the phone and a bigger screen could be used for projection mapping (in terms of having real-time scribbles on buildings).

Device of the Week [Health]: Food Marble

A B O U T

Food Marble is a small and portable breath test device that is able to keep track of one’s digestive system through breathing. The device measures the amount of hydrogen produced in each breath to determine how well a certain food has been digested by the person. The data is then sent to a phone application that is paired to this device to record down each intake and then provide food reports back to the user. Food Marble can also track the user’s sleep and stress levels through breath patterns.

What prompted me to research on this particular device was the fact that when people think of health devices, the main devices that are thought of are usually those that target heart rates, exercise patterns, sleep patterns and meditation. Not many people would think of a device that tracks digestive patterns and helps plan one’s eating routine. A common perception of digestive issues come from eating the wrong type of food or eating to quickly. But it actually goes down to the specifics of the type of components that one’s stomach cannot handle, which can be present in many types of food. This type of identification is impossible for a normal person to identify unless they have a nutritionist. Thus having this device that can track the types of components that your stomach is good and bad with is a much more convenient way of rearranging one’s eating patterns to ensure smoother digestion.

Video from Tech Insider testing the usage of the Food Marble

A D V A N T A G E S

  • Small and portable
  • Easy viewing of data on phone app (comprehensible to new users as well)
  • Able to dissect the data into its specific food components through the FODMAP programme (i.e. Lactose, Fructose, Inulin and Sorbitol) for more accurate digestion tracking
  • Extra benefits such as sleep and stress tracking make the cost more worth it for the user

D I S A D V A N T A G E S

  • Since it requires physical interaction between the user and the device (through daily breath tests), the data received will be outdated if the user does not constantly do breath tests daily after meals.

 

References

https://foodmarble.com/reviews

https://foodmarble.com/

https://www.thetrendspotter.net/smart-health-devices/

 

 

The Social Distancing Hat – prototype

I started out by making the base (of radius 1.1m) using cardboard – then realising that the cardboard was too uneven to make a good base. thus i changed to a thinner but more flimsy artboard. I taped the sides together and drew a huge circle and cut it out. Then, I cut out a circle of radius 9.1cm in the middle of the bigger circle (to fit the hat through). I then secured it with masking tape, duct tape and string, with wooden beams and cardboard as support at the underside of the hat. However, it did not turn out the way I wanted it to as it ended up flopping down, instead of being upright. That in itself turned out to be effective too, as the wooden beams at the side of the head still remained somewhat straight It looked similar to a huge summer hat.

Reviews from friends who wore the hat: it was able to give full body protection, and people steared clear of their path.

Below are the pictures and video documentation of the hat prototype.

(above: drawn shape of hat on base of thin artboard)

(above: top of hat prototype)

(above: bottom framework of hat prototype)