ZeroN: technomagical interface

Posted by on May 25th, 2012

There is something fundamental behind motivations to liberate physical matter from gravity and enable control. The motivation has existed as a shared dream amongst humans for millennia. It is an idea found in mythologies, desired by alchemists, and visualized in science fiction movies. I have aspired to create a space where we can experience a glimpse of this future. A space where materials are free from gravitational constraints and controllable through computing technologies.

We set out to travel across the universe and to develop bio-technologies that resist the natural fall of our bodies to earth. At some level, we are all trying to defy gravity.

Quotes and more at FastCodesign.

Nokia’s haptic tattoo ink patent

Posted by on March 18th, 2012

From Phone Arena:

Nokia has filed for a patent that offers a new and interesting take on mobile notifications. The patent, dated March 15, 2012, is for a ferromagnetic ink tattoo that is able to vibrate based on signals sent from a phone.

Nokia first describes a material that can attach to the surface of the skin, not to dissimilar to a sticker or a “patch”. The material would be able to be paired to a phone and emit various vibration patterns. In essence, a user could give a contact a specific pattern, which would enable them to be able to know who is calling without looking at the device, much like a custom ringtone.

Taking things to a new level of dedication, Nokia also describes the same technology being deployed in an actual tattoo. The process would involve demagnetizing the ink before administering the tattoo. Once it is in the skin, the ink would need to be magnetized by an external magnet. This technique would allow for enhanced sensitivity.

Just the tech I was thinking my latest ink needed too.

via Ales Kot

the internet haptic ‘kissing’ machine.

Posted by on May 4th, 2011

Presented with the sole comment that this is another example of proto-Shriekyware.

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via BoingBoing.

Kinect & Arduino hacked together to create navigation system for the blind

Posted by on March 20th, 2011

From Switched:

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Created by Michael Zöllner and Stephan Huber from the University of Konstanz, NAVI (or Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired) allows the blind to easily navigate an environment and avoid obstacles with tactile feedback via a vibrating belt, and audio cues delivered over a Bluetooth headset. The Kinect is mounted on a helmet and feeds video and depth data to a laptop worn on the back. The laptop then triggers vibrations in the Arduino-controlled belt to alert the wearer to nearby obstacles, and announces directions and the location of obstructions over the Bluetooth ear-piece. The system can also read QR signs to alert the wearer of their location.

via @tcarmody

Sensebridge’s wearable sensory augmentation devices

Posted by on January 6th, 2011

Sensebridge (mentioned in the previous post) have two wearable project kits available:

For a demo of each, see this video:

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Brace yourself for Telenoid R1, the minimalist humanoid robot

Posted by on August 2nd, 2010

From beyond the Uncanny Valley comes this disturbing creation, the mutant hybrid lovechild of Casper the Friendly Ghost and Dren from Splice.

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The portable machine features a soft silicone body that is pleasant to the touch, and it uses 9 actuators to move its eyes, mouth, head and rudimentary limbs

Now, trust me.. in an earlier experiment in journalism I hung out in a warehouse in Japan where they made fuckable mannequins.. these don’t stand a chance. Sure, they’re built for telepresence…

The robot’s actions mirror those of the remote user, whose movements are monitored by real-time face tracking software on the user’s computer. Users can also transmit their voice through the robot’s embedded speakers.

.. but you just know they’ll have preset ‘routines’ or have playable ‘games’ for them, soon enough too.

More details over on Pink Tentacle.

On sale now, from $US 8K for the low-end model, to $US 35K for the deluxe.

via JWZ

Japanese researchers create touchable holograms

Posted by on July 18th, 2010
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Using, in part, hacked Wiimotes.

New polymer to give robots sensitive skin

Posted by on February 23rd, 2010

From Technology Review:

The UK company Peratech, which last month signed a deal to develop novel pressure-sensing technology for screen maker Nissha, has announced that it will use the same approach to make artificial “skin” for the MIT Media Lab.

Peratech makes an electrically conductive material called quantum tunneling composite (QTC). When the material is compressed electrons jump between two conductors separated by polymer insulating layer covered with metallic nanoparticles. QTC has already been used to make small sensors for NASA’s Robonaut and for a robotic gripper made by Shadow Robot Company.

QTC robot skin could perhaps let a robot know precisely where it has been touched, and with how much pressure. It could also be helpful in designing machines that have better grasping capabilities, and for developing more natural ways for machines to interact with humans.

The company says QTC can be screen-printed as a flexible, robust sheet as thin as 75 microns or made into a coating just 10 microns thick. Because the material reacts only when a force is applied, it consumes little power. And it’s flexibility will let it conform to unique robotic shapes.

First factory robots, then better prosthetics and in the future, whole new sensory organs for posthumans, I say.

(OK, fine, and better sexbots..)

Mind-controlled prosthetic hand

Posted by on December 2nd, 2009

From Yahoo! News:

An Italian who lost his left forearm in a car crash was successfully linked to a robotic hand, allowing him to feel sensations in the artificial limb and control it with his thoughts, scientists said Wednesday.

During a one-month experiment conducted last year, 26-year-old Pierpaolo Petruzziello felt like his lost arm had grown back again, although he was only controlling a robotic hand that was not even attached to his body.

Petruzziello, an Italian who lives in Brazil, said the feedback he got from the hand was amazingly accurate.

“It felt almost the same as a real hand. They stimulated me a lot, even with needles … you can’t imagine what they did to me,” he joked with reporters.

While the “LifeHand” experiment lasted only a month, this was the longest time electrodes had remained connected to a human nervous system in such an experiment, said Silvestro Micera, one of the engineers on the team. Similar, shorter-term experiments in 2004-2005 hooked up amputees to a less-advanced robotic arm with a pliers-shaped end, and patients were only able to make basic movements, he said.

Experts not involved in the study told The Associated Press the experiment was an important step forward in creating a viable interface between the nervous system and prosthetic limbs, but the challenge now is ensuring that such a system can remain in the patient for years and not just a month.

via Joshua Ellis

Implantable Silicon-Silk Electronics

Posted by on November 16th, 2009

Scientists of the University of Pennsylvania are creating electronics that almost completely dissolve inside the body, through the use of thin, flexible silicon electronics on silk substrates.

While implanted electronics must usually be encased to protect them from the body, these electronics don’t need protection. The whole process is pretty much seamless: The electronics on the flexible silk substrates conform to biological tissue. The silk melts away over time and the thin silicon circuits left behind don’t cause irritation because they are just nanometers thick.

To make the devices, silicon transistors about one millimeter long and 250 nanometers thick are collected on a stamp and then transferred to the surface of a thin film of silk. The silk holds each device in place, even after the array is implanted in an animal – so far the technique is tested on mice – and wetted with saline, causing it to conform to the tissue surface.

In a paper published in the journal Applied Physics Letters, the researchers report that such circuits can be implanted in animals with no adverse effects. And the performance of the transistors on silk inside the body doesn’t suffer.

The researchers are now developing silk-silicon LEDs that might act as photonic tattoos that can show blood-sugar readings, as well as arrays of conformable electrodes that might interface with the nervous system.


First prosthetic hand connected directly to nerve endings

Posted by on October 23rd, 2009

Via BotJunkie comes the video a lot of people have been waiting a long time to see; an actual, functional cyborg hand:

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Mazda’s car for 2050

Posted by on May 31st, 2009

This is some serious industrial design/car pr0n. From Pink Tentacle:


In Mazda’s vision of the late 2050s, advances in molecular engineering have rendered metal-based manufacturing obsolete. The rise of ubiquitous computing and artificial intelligence drastically accelerates the automotive production cycle…A “haptic skin” suit consisting of millions of microscopic actuators enables the driver to experience the road psycho-somatically while receiving electrical muscle stimulation from the onboard AI guidance system…The vehicle’s entire structure is comprised of a 100% reprototypable, carbon nanotube/shape memory alloy weave with a photovoltaic coating, which allows the vehicle to mimic the driver’s body movements while powering the in-wheel electrostatic motors.

Keep reading for more..

via Futurismic

Crowdsourcing Massage Jacket

Posted by on May 20th, 2009

Developed by MIT students Carnaven Chiu, Xiao Xiao, Keywon Chung, and Peggy Chi , SOS: Stress Outsourced is a networked wearable system that allows users to send and receive massages anonymously. A new type of haptic social networking (or social therapy), SOS allows stressed individuals to send anonymous signals via the wearable to a global social network. In response, individuals within the network calm the stressed victim by sending them a “massage” stroke.

Link and words via

Feel a hearbeat: Artificial Muscle makes touchy devices better

Posted by on April 24th, 2009

….in the case of Artificial Muscle (the company), which has developed tech enabling a silicon film to expand or contract when a voltage is applied to it. It’s currently being used to create small pumps and linear actuators and the like, and is now is being pitched as a solution for feedback in touch-sensitive devices. The silicon film is thin enough to be inserted beneath a touchpad or touchscreen, moving the surface appropriately depending on what you’re stroking on-screen as shown in a video demonstration below. Impressively this tech will only cost “a couple dollars” to add to any given device, meaning even cheap netbooks could start coming with fidgity touchpads soon.

Video and words from

the haptic compass belt

Posted by on February 10th, 2009

From Monkeys & Robots:

Last night I built a haptic compass, also known as the Clown Belt. This is a belt which features twelve vibrating pager motors equally spaced around the perimeter of the belt. The control box uses a digital compass to determine which way is north, and continuously buzzes the appropriate motor. The effect is subtle but noticeable. I feel like I’ve been granted a strange new sense of direction.

The belt has additional features: it can be connected via serial to my iPhone which delivers up a bearing to an arbitrary destination. I have a first generation iPhone, which means my current location is highly approximate, but for distant locations it works great.  It can also be controlled wirelessly over an XBee RF link, but the peculiar application of that is the subject of a future post.

Haptic GPS nagivation?  Well alright then..

via MAKE


Posted by on October 1st, 2008

Spotted on Gizmodo, a new tech allows users to interact tactically with a virtual 3D object.

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How Chicken Petting will lead to Sex Suits

Posted by on September 11th, 2008

Researchers at the Mixed Reality Lab have developed a system where a person can pet a faux chicken and have the real chicken, miles away, feel the sensation through a specially worn haptic jacket. Chicken “petting” is not super sensational, but the technology behind it is the real star.

The technology is still in it’s infancy, but:

The team is investigating the possibility of “internet hugging” and plans to develop an advanced haptic suit for humans, which will incorporate tiny air sacs, compressors and valves to impart a “high-fidelity” feeling of being hugged.

Touches, created and shared between users. Sound familiar? The little tactile sensations are still years away from being developed, but the brick road of haptic interface shriekygirl culture just had another development piece added to it.


The team will begin work on the human version of the haptic suit in August, and estimates it will take about a year to deliver the first prototype.

A full haptic suit? Reminds me of a part in a book, where the humans wear the full haptic suits – and what happens to them when someone takes the suits over…..

Link to article via

Pantech’s Emotion Phone: The Love Canvas

Posted by on June 27th, 2008

    - image via

“Called Love Canvas, the phone allows users to send texts, pictures, emoticons and vibrations expressing the sender’s emotional status. you can draw and send the shape of heart that conveys the feeling of love.

When you write “I love you” on the screen, the receiver can read the same phrase on the screen of his or her own mobile phone. You can also send various emoticons and vibrations by touching the screen.

Link via

Edited to add the link.

Flexible, Band-aid-sized Tactile Display

Posted by on June 10th, 2008

    - image via

We’ve seen tactile displays of all shapes and sizes, but none quite like this latest creation from a group of researchers at Korea’s Sungkyunkwan University and the University of Nevada, which promises to be at your disposal whenever you need it. That’s possible thanks to the electroactive polymer material the display is based on, which consists of eight layers of tiny actuator films that have been sprayed with electrodes in a specific pattern, allowing the skin to be stimulated without any additional electromechanical transmission. In addition to making it possible to wrap the display around your finger like a band-aid, that also makes the system extremely power efficient and, apparently, cost effective and easy to manufacture. As with other tactile displays, the researchers say this one could be especially useful as a braille display for the blind, although they don’t see any shortage of other potential applications, with them foreseeing it being used in everything from virtual keyboards to tele-surgical gloves.

Link via

The Haptica Braille Watch – see the time with your fingers

Posted by on June 2nd, 2008


Haptica is a movable Braille timepiece for the visually impaired, which enables the user to get a quick and accurate time reading while maintaining user discretion.