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Headband Gives Wearer "Sixth-Sense"

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the use-the-force dept.

Input Devices 234

An anonymous reader writes "New Scientist reports on a headband developed at the University of Tokyo that allows the wearer to feel their surroundings at a distance — as if they had cats whiskers. Infrared sensors positioned around the headband vibrate to signal when and where an object is close. There are also a few great videos of people using it to dodge stuff while blindfolded."

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Augmentation of senses (5, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671635)

Augmentation of existing senses has been going on for some time now. In particular, there is a very interesting project running through the Office of Naval Research using Navy Seals and a tongue prosthetic designed to impart sonar information to the tongue using electrical stimulii. Technology like this is very cool stuff that at the very least will help with mission specific tasks, but even better allows folks who have one or more senses compromised to continue to function and navigate their worlds.

Re:Augmentation of senses (2, Insightful)

adamstew (909658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671665)

This seems to make sense for those who are blind. Instead of using the walking stick/cane (not sure what it's called). Just strap one of these things to their head/chest/belt and let them walk on. It could vibrate to indicate steps, objects, drop offs, etc.

I don't know why this hasn't been thought of before...perhaps it has been, but not that i've heard of.

Re:Augmentation of senses (5, Insightful)

Xiph (723935) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671785)

Actually, one of the main features of the walking-stick/cane is that it helps detect features just above ground level, such as curbs and stairs. A band wrapped around the head would help against trees and walls, but not against the curb.

Re:Augmentation of senses (2, Insightful)

salec (791463) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671997)

...features just above ground level, such as curbs and stairs.

Then this sensory aid should be mounted on the shins, set to observe forward\downward slope.

In anecdotal evidence (as well as my own experience) contactless "feel" of objects in total darkness is most desirable in your hands and fingertips, or there goes the flask, glass, lamp, heavy loose objects leaned on the wall...with lots of noise in the middle of the night, of course. After all in the dark we do wave hands in front of us to explore surroundings.

All things considered, this sensor type seems like a cool idea.

Re:Augmentation of senses (4, Insightful)

Satorian (902590) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672005)

Well, time for some buzzing shoes with forward looking IR then. Shouldn't be much of a problem to put the electronics and battery into the soles and attach the sensor at the front.

Re:Augmentation of senses (1)

adamstew (909658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672055)

I would think that this could be modified to do that...just point some more sensors down towards the walker's feet and it could detect changes in ground elevation caused by not only hills, but curbs, stairs, etc.

Re:Augmentation of senses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20671817)

More like it makes sense for Super Heros....
I can certainly feel my spider sense tingling from all the flame that's about to come my way

Re:Augmentation of senses (3, Funny)

Flyskippy1 (625890) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671879)

It's especially helpful if you're blind and want to fight the criminal acts of the Kingpin.

Does it come with a red suit and little horns?

-Chris

Re:Augmentation of senses (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672413)

I had to wear one of these until I was hit on the face by a radioactive cylinder from a truck when I was a kid. Now I don't need one. Unfortunately it still doesn't prevent me from making bad movies.

Re:Augmentation of senses (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672069)

Well since it is at head level I don't know how effective it would be for a blind person. I can see it being put into things like hard hats. Anything that can help avoid a head injury is a good thing.

Re:Augmentation of senses (5, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671799)

Not to mention, that thing seems like a barrel of fun :-) I want one.

It would also go a long way to debunking the claims of the so-called "Jedi Knights", whose powers on closer inspection, always turn out to be parlor tricks. For example, the captain of a small, private interstellar cruiser has been circulating a video where some kids puts on a blast shield helmet -- the kind that makes it so you can't see anything, and he's none the less able to block a few randomly fired shots from a floating probe.

Now, it's not very impressive to begin with (he fails to block the first two shots!), but this device can help explain why he was able to sense the shots even while he was blinded.

Sixth Sense? (5, Funny)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671839)

Does it let you see dead people?

To do that, you just need (5, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671863)

a shovel.

This post is a waste of reading: undoing a mod (3, Funny)

autocracy (192714) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672043)

Apparently, the "f" key goes straight to "flamebait" and submits... commenting to undo a moderation that should have been done as funny...

Re:This post is a waste of reading: undoing a mod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672675)

That was nice of you.

Fallout 2 (3, Funny)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672551)

You receive the grave-robber perk! That's a -5 to karma, BTW.

Re:Augmentation of senses (1)

wamerocity (1106155) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672053)

I think what people are missing is that this headband is simply just chock full of mitichlorians. It's the same one Luke Skywalker wore. "But with the blast shield down I won't be able to see!"

Re:Augmentation of senses (4, Interesting)

Raindance (680694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672581)

It's amazing that even "tacked-on", purely mechanical senses such as this headband, or this direction-sensing belt [wired.com] will actually re-wire one's brain (more in the linked article). It may be a mechanical hack, but to your brain, it functions as a sixth sense.

Wild. :)

Interesting new verb (5, Funny)

colourmyeyes (1028804) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671651)

"There are also a few great videos of people using it to http://www.k2.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/perception/HapticRadar/index-e.htmldodge [u-tokyo.ac.jp] stuff while blindfolded."

How do I go about http://www.k2.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/perception/HapticRadar/index-e.htmldodging [u-tokyo.ac.jp] stuff?

Re:Interesting new verb (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20671783)

Haven't you seen the movie http://www.k2.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/perception/HapticRadar/index-e.htmldodge [u-tokyo.ac.jp] ball? There's a popular quote from there:

It's quite humorous because he starts by throwing an http://www.k2.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/perception/HapticRadar/index-e.htmlwrench [u-tokyo.ac.jp] at the man requiring him to http://www.k2.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/perception/HapticRadar/index-e.htmldodge [u-tokyo.ac.jp] it unexpectedly.

Fixed link (4, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671667)

Oh and since Daddypants did not read emails prior to hitting publish here is the fixed link [u-tokyo.ac.jp] for TFA.

Re:Fixed link (1)

PlatyPaul (690601) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671935)

Well, in 12 hours (when the /. effect has worn off), I guess I'll thank you.

Re:Fixed link (5, Informative)

PlatyPaul (690601) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671959)

Click here [64.233.167.104] for Google's cached version of the page.

serious html error (-1, Redundant)

mytrip (940886) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671675)

http://www.k2.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/perception/HapticRadar/index-e.htmldodge [u-tokyo.ac.jp] stuff while blindfolded." doesnt work.

Re:serious html error (0, Troll)

kevmatic (1133523) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671765)

That's SERIOUS.

It requires some SERIOUS removal of the SERIOUSLY SERIOUS "dodge" at the end.

http://www.k2.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/perception/HapticRadar/index-e.html [u-tokyo.ac.jp]

Crisis adverted. Stand down red alert.

Re:serious html error (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20671867)

Don't you mean "dodged"?

Sixth-sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20671679)

Haley Joel Osment was unavailable for comment.

Useful (1)

allthefish (1158249) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671681)

This sounds like it could be useful for visually impaired people. I know a lot of people that are blind or nearly so, and for those that aren't completely blind they say that depth perception is the hardest part, though they can usually see that there is an object somewhere. Also, maybe this could replace those canes that blind people are constantly tapping around everywhere with.

Already have that (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20671685)

A sixth sense, that is. It's called the sense of balance. Why is this never included in the senses list?

Re:Already have that (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671927)

Actually, aside from the sense of balance you mention, everyone has a 'sixth sense' of some sort if they'd just manage to learn about it. It's called your 'intuitive sense'. Most people are completely tuned out to it, but science has recently begun to realize that intuition is real and based on our brain's ability to perceive and think about things that aren't in the 'foreground task' of our mind.

I think it was discussed in a recent edition of 'Scientific American Mind'.

Re:Already have that (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672313)

No. A sense is a modality by which the brain receives information about the external world.

Senses: vision (three senses, if you like), 5 tastes, many many odors, hearing, heat, pain(s), sharp pressure, dull pressure, proprioception, balance, etc.

Not-senses: any memory systems.

"Intuition" for any non-psychic/ESP definition must be a memory system, not a sensory modality.

Re:Already have that (4, Informative)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672439)

Intuition isn't a sense, it's a form of post-sensory cognition.

Re:Already have that (5, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671941)

A sixth sense, that is. It's called the sense of balance.

No, the sixth sense is when you think you're alive, but you've really been dead the whole time.

Re:Already have that (0, Offtopic)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672263)

I thought the sixth sense was when you figured out the movie in the first 5 minutes and had to suffer through the rest of it banging your head on the seat in front of you bellowing "It'S OH so fucking OBvious!"

Maybe that's just me,
-l

Re:Already have that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672685)

Congratulations. You're a liar, but hey I'll give you internet props. They're worth just as much as your assertion!

Proprioreception (1)

Rob Simpson (533360) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672057)

I'm not sure, but it might be because schools suck [machall.com] .

Re:Proprioreception (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672119)

That may be the most broken-layout page I have ever seen on a production website.

Re:Already have that (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672115)

Becasue Fox News has it patented and copywriten and trademarks.

Re:Already have that (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672385)

"Because it doesn't sense the outside world" is the obvious answer, but of course, the sense of balance does sense something in the outside world--namely the gravitational field. The other big "internal" sense is proprioception, which is your intuitive sense of how your body parts are positioned relative to each other. You know that test where you stand up straight and bring your fingertip to your nose with your eyes closed to prove you're not drunk? You do that through proprioception. Another tip--bringing your hands together firmly recalibrates your proprioception, which is why you see baseball players punch inside their glove before making a catch sometimes.

Evidently, it's also useful to narrow down "touch" to the sense of pressure in the skin, so things like pain, temperature, nausea, the gag reflex, and the sense of having to go to the bathroom are separate senses entirely.

And more (5, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672491)

Touch isn't one sense. Temperature, surface detail, and pressure are separate parts of it. Besides balance, there's also proprioception, which lets you know where your body parts are. Then there's the sense of thoughtforms, the ability to know one's own thoughts and feelings, and the sense of self, which is the only thing that lets us do anything useful with our mental models of the world we build out of all the other senses by relating the model of the world to the model of the individual.

You may be surprised to learn there are more than four tastes, too. Besides the sour, salty, sweet, and bitter we're all familiar with, there's a fifth type of taste bud that detects glutamate, a flavor known as'umami' [wikipedia.org] and characterized as 'savory' or 'meaty.'

For the Blind (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671693)

This looks promising for people who are blind. IF they can increase the resolution of it would be wonderful.

i learned it from uncle ben (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671913)

This looks promising for people who are blind. IF they can increase the resolution of it would be wonderful.

Absolutely. But don't forget.. for a "spider-sense" like this, with great power comes great responsibility.

Re:i learned it from uncle ben (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672009)

And a headache while on Tokyo subway at rush hour.

My sixth sense (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671727)

I have a sixth sense--the ability to detect unlinked URLs in summaries. Too bad ScuttleMonkey doesn't seem to have this one...

Re:My sixth sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20671887)

I guess he doesn't have the same "spider" sense you have.

I'm probably going to hell for that pun. :/

Incredibly useful for construction (5, Funny)

Guido del Confuso (80037) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671731)

This will prove invaluable on construction sites. I can't count the number of times I've had to duck a board being swung wildly by my co-worker Curly, only to have the board hit me on the back of the head on the return trip when he turns to face the other direction. This device would completely prevent this type of common construction accident.

Re:Incredibly useful for construction (1)

gatekeep (122108) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671953)

Nyuk nyuk nyuk...

Re:Incredibly useful for construction (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672029)

Who are you? Shemp Howard?

Re:Incredibly useful for construction (1)

moehoward (668736) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672155)


QUIET, numbskulls. Curly and Shemp only worked together in one Stooges short. That was after Curly had his stroke. It was not a construction scene. It was on a train.

Check out my user id for proof that I know what I'm talking about. Then, pick two...

Re:Incredibly useful for construction (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672105)

However, you would most likely remove the device, along with your hard hat, after having successfully ducked the first two swings so that you could tap on Curly's shoulder to let him know how insenstive he was being only to have him turn around wildly again and bash you brains in with that same board.

You're doing it wrong (5, Funny)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671773)

I once thought I had a sixth sense while wearing a headband. It turns out it was just on too tight.

Wonderful! (5, Funny)

SpectreBlofeld (886224) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671791)

Now shrink it, and implant it in my cranium. I'll also take my embedded GPS and compass, accelerometer, laser rangefinder, light spectrometer, infrared/thermal vision, visual magnification, cochlear implant that records everything I hear/say, wireless Internet connection, and optical nerve tie-in for the interface. And hardened ceramic teeth that can be polished clean with fine-grit polishing compound. You have your mission, scientists. Go.

Re:Wonderful! (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672479)

You want to be a Borg?

Re:Wonderful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672493)

Ah ha! You already have an accelerometer. So I guess that means you don't actually want any of those things, I'll take you off the list... and here we were going to give you these nice things in three weeks...

Re:Wonderful! (4, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672535)

I'll also take my embedded GPS and compass, accelerometer, laser rangefinder, light spectrometer, infrared/thermal vision, visual magnification, cochlear implant that records everything I hear/say, wireless Internet connection, and optical nerve tie-in for the interface.

*grabs calculator*
That'll be... six million dollars, sir.

Missing the real question? (5, Funny)

punxking (721508) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671801)

OK cool, but... how fashionable a headband are we talking?

Re:Missing the real question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20671823)

Lame! Headbands are soooo 1980s!

Re:Missing the real question? (1)

realthing02 (1084767) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672127)

I heard they were going to put it into a Steve Zissou signature knit hat.

Re:Missing the real question? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672315)

I heard they're the same kind worn by ninjas!

Not to be outdone, I heard that a bandanna version will be produced by a company based in the Carribean very shortly.

Made the same thing at Towson University (5, Insightful)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671811)

I made almost exactly the same thing at Towson University last semester with a research grant. I have a Daventech SRF04 ultrasonic rangefinder mounted on a baseball cap which is polled by an Acroname Brainstem PIC module. That data is averaged over a short time and sent out to a servo that is strapped to the user's palm. The end result is that the servo presses against the user's palm with a pressure inversely proportional to the distance read by the rangefinder. It really does work very well, it's very responsive and it's not too dificult to at least avoid bumping into things. The only problem is that it's not in stereo; I would eventually like to add more rangefinders and more servos. The other problem is that the user has to move their head around constantly to get distance information; I talked this over with a blind friend of mine and he suggested that the sensor be mounted on the hand or wrist along with the servo, this way it's a little more intuitive and less cumbersome/dorky-looking/tiresome. I really wish I'd published at least something somewhere; when my advisor was talking about it (it wasn't my idea, I just designed and built it) I remember thinking "I can't believe nobody else has made something like this before." Ah well.

Re:Made the same thing at Towson University (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672533)

make the sensor like Geordi Laforge's VISOR, then have a belt of servos around the waist.

Re:Made the same thing at Towson University (1)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672731)

The original idea actually was to have the servos around the waist on a belt, however I came to the conclusion that there just wasn't enough sensitivity in that area to make it useful. The next time I see a LaForge style visor though...:)

Dodge stuff? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20671815)

"There are also a few great videos of people using it to dodge stuff while blindfolded."

Cause if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.

New Anti-Slashdot Effect Tech (1)

riffzifnab (449869) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671841)

See, its not a malformed link at all, but a devious way to reduce server load. People who can't or just don't feel like figuring out the link just won't read the article. It makes even less people RTFA, BRILLIANT!!!

Re:New Anti-Slashdot Effect Tech (0)

ed.mps (1015669) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672067)

See, its not a malformed link at all, but a devious way to reduce server load. People who can't or just don't feel like figuring out the link just won't read the article. It makes even less people RTFA, BRILLIANT!!!
what? "even less"?

i thought everyone read it... I must be new here...





ps: go down karma, go!

Misleading Title (4, Funny)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671843)

This device doesn't allow you to see any dead people. Not even a little bit.

Swi

Re:Misleading Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672135)

This device doesn't allow you to see any dead people. Not even a little bit.
Maybe not strictly "see", but it would let you sense a dead person that was swung at you while you were blindfold.

Re:Misleading Title (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672525)

This device doesn't allow you to see any dead people. Not even a little bit.

Depends if you use it for something critical, and it malfunctions. Then someone will need a 6th sense to see you.

An experts here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20671871)

Someone ought to ask Stalking Cat [bbc.co.uk] what it's like to have whiskers.

Abh-inspired? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20671875)

Anyone else think of the Abh? Now if only I could get the blue hair to look natural...

Obligatory (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671893)

Insert obligatory, "Spidey Sense Made In Japan", joke here...

Re:Obligatory (1)

splatter (39844) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671925)


wow same idea at the same time and only 4 digits off each others slashdot id number.

Your not my lost twin that looks like Arnold or something are you?

Re:Obligatory (1)

DeionXxX (261398) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672453)

Why do you look like DaVito?

My spider sense is tingling (1)

splatter (39844) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671897)

Seriously though how cool would it be to have spider sense.

Damn handicap people take all the good parking spots & the super powers & don't even use them.

I love this stuff (1)

hairykrishna (740240) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671939)

I really like this 'extra sense' research. It makes me look forward to the future when we're all cyborgs with superpowers!

Ever since reading the wired article about the guy with the vibrating compass belt(http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.04/esp.html [wired.com] ) I've always wanted to build one. Now it looks like I'll have to add infra red vision too...

Re:I love this stuff (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672113)

I've had an "internal compass" most of my life- as has my father and brother. I think some people are just born with it. But I still prefer a GPS unit....and riding the MAX train I completely missed the turn west then the U-Turn East just before the Sunset Transit Center (but then again, I think my internal compass is based on a strong internal clock and the sun- and the U-Turn happens underground).

Arghh! (1)

drspliff (652992) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671965)

I feel a disturbance in the force; oh.. it's you!

Re:Arghh! (1)

purplepolecat (1108483) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672655)

With the blast shield down, I can't even see. How am I supposed to fight?

Geordi La Forge (1)

kermy (125800) | more than 6 years ago | (#20671983)

First step towards a working VISOR...

This will be great... (1)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672027)

But can I use it blindfolded while using my Wiimote lightsaber?

Extension of Principle (1)

E++99 (880734) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672103)

Instead of vibrating a motor so you can consciously react, it would be cool if it could send electrical impulses down the appropriate nerve pathways to make you involuntarily avoid the object. Maybe it would even be possible to make a device that could let you dodge bullets.

Re:Extension of Principle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672411)

And you automatically gain incredible dancing abilities in any crowded room.

Re:Extension of Principle (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672425)

Maybe it would even be possible to make a device that could let you dodge bullets.

I'm saying that, when the time comes, you won't have to.

Well, almost good enough (1, Interesting)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672121)

Someone call me when they actually manage to give someone new senses, instead of overlaying a new sense on top of an existing one. It's all well and good to do something like this as an experiment, but it's just a stepping stone. The real progress will come when they can do a direct neural hookup without having to come up with some way of translating incoming data into some format that can be expressed using an existing sense.

Re:Well, almost good enough (5, Funny)

realthing02 (1084767) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672175)

XML is the answer.

Re:Well, almost good enough (1)

MarkCollette (459340) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672273)

Ok, that was hilarious.

Re:Well, almost good enough (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672505)

I've always known this.

Re:Well, almost good enough (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672311)

It's much more challenging to decide to either recruit an existing brain area or decide there "should be" another one suited for your purpose. Brodmann areas 1-3 are admirably suitable for sensory/motor areas, and we have a visual cortex for vision. Call me when you've grown special brain areas for your new senses :)

Re:Well, almost good enough (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672437)

Yeah that is a problem. Although some evidence suggests that if new sense were wired into an existing area it would compensate. You'd have reduced capacity in whatever sense you took over, but it would allow for a whole new sense. Of course I'd expect that if we're at the stage of direct neural interfaces, then adding a new hunk of brain to handle the input shouldn't be terribly hard.

I tried one... (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672239)

...but I didn't see my surroundings. All I saw was dead people.

Spidey sense... (1)

DigitalJer (1132981) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672247)

...tingling!

Don't need a headband for this. (2, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672333)

If your hearing in both ears is good and the environment isn't too noisy, you don't need a headband full of electronics and sensors for this.

With practice you can "image" enough of your environment to get around just from echoes of your own body's sounds or other ambient noises of suitable waveshape. (This is how you get the "closing in" feeling in tight spaces.)

There are reports of a totally blind kid using this effect to ride a bicycle and avoid obstacles. (He made clicking sounds with his mouth to provide a controlled, sharp (low-distance-error) sound, effectively emulating one mode of a bat's sonar.)

"Chirps" (single tones rapidly "swept" at a constant change of frequency per unit time) are potentially far better for imaging and ranging than "clicks" (impulses or short sound bursts that approximate them). But it's not clear that the human brain and vocal system has the necessary structures for generating and processing them correctly.

= = = =

Of course the headband might be much more effective than training up your own sound-generating and sensory systems - which (unlike a bat's or a cetacean's) aren't optimized for this service.

ATmega 128? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672353)

I think I forgot mine in my Sat receiver....

One young test subject... (1)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672485)

One young test subject, upon wearing the headband, reported that he could "see dead people"...

The researchers, upon having been thus reminded of an M Night Shyamalan movie, threw themselves out the nearest window to end their grief.

It's true what they say... (1)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672513)

Having tried this sort of thing before, I think that the old saying rings true:

"If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball."

Maaaan I sure could've used this (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672591)

I spend a lot of time in caves. Ya wear a helmet. Despite that, you hit your head. *Astoundingly* hard, even with a helmet. All the time. Because you forget there's a huge irregular rock right beside your head, and you turn, and *whang* you hit your head so hard your olfactory nerves distort and you smell/taste copper the way you do when you've been punched.

Or, even, when exploring steam tunnels in the dark and there are cross-pipes in the way. And you have to run through the tunnels in darkness, with your flashlights off, because the campus security dudes are chasing you.
Or so I've heard.

/.ed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672703)

Speaking of dodging stuff, it looks like their server dodged a few connections.
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