Significantly Boost Your Sense of TouchPosted: August 5, 2011
By Mark Brown, Wired UK
Forget traditional comic book hero origin stories — gaining a super sense of touch can be as easy as slipping on this glove.
It’s designedby a team of researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology, and the glove’s tip lightly vibrates the wearer’s finger to significantly boost their sense of touch, and increase the amount of data they can sense through their pinky.
It works through stochastic resonance, where adding a tiny amount of white noise to an area of the body can heighten senses like sight, hearing, balance control and touch.
But until now, no one has built a wearable device that takes advantage of these superhero-style powers. That’s where Georgia Tech assistant professor Jun Ueda, associate professor Minoru Shinohara and visiting scholar Yuichi Kurita come in.
Their magic glove has a gap at the fingertip so the person wearing it still feels objects with their skin. But an actuator — made of lead zirconate layers stacked one upon the other to generate the kind of high-frequency vibration needed — makes contact with the finger to vibrate it.
The glove was trialled on ten adult volunteers. The tasks included having their finger tips pricked with sharp points, feeling the weight of filament in fiber strands and differentiating between different types of sandpaper through touch alone.