by My Nguyen

September 15, 2015

How New Haptic Wearable Devices Move Our Life

“See how she leans her cheek upon her hand.
Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand
That I might touch that cheek” – William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Have you ever watched the romantic play “Romeo and Juliet” written by William Shakespeare? If Romeo and Juliet were born in the technology decade like us, then Romeo would not make such a wish.
Nowadays, with the evolution of haptic technology embedded into wearable technology human senses can experience brand new feelings. Haptic technology helps to enhance human sense of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch by bringing the feeling of realness into perspective – despite distance or disability. It’s a new way for humans to experience and live life.

Lechal is a haptic footwear which was driven to help the visually-impaired navigate their world better. In Hindi, Lechal means take me there. The footwear includes sensors, small actuators and electronic inside the soles that allows it to connect with smartphone via Bluetooth. The user interfaces with an application equipped with the local map on the phone via voice commands. Their app works as an eye-free and hand-free software to direct the user to their desired destination. The phone’s GPS tracks the user’s location in real-time, sending the actuator a signal to vibrate when it is time to turn. The shoe (right or left) indicates the way to go. Moreover, the special feature could make Lechal distinguished for the blind in its obstacle detection. WT wrote about this feature of Lechal in our Out of Sight, Out of Fright article.

Besides, Lechal provides several applications which could be suitable for anyone who is looking for a more intuitive navigation and interaction. Lechal can take you nearly anywhere with its long lasting battery life of up to 15 days. Therefore wherever you are, in your city or new country, there is always a Lechal mode for you. In addition, Lechal provides an awesome feature for mass movement which allows a group of Lechal users heading to a destination from different places to track each others routine.

“To touch is to experience, but to feel is to live”- Loren Klein. Alert Shirt from We:eX, fan jersey can experience and live with players as feelings happen during a game. Alert shirt connects humans across vast distances and brings electronics emotions to life. Now you can experience frustrations and joys during an active game in a new way that we have never experienced before. It does this with a combination of hardware, software and apparel design which collects real-time sport data. Then, Alert Shirt converts the data into powerful sensations that simulate live sport action.

How about sending hugs over distance? The same as Alert Shirt procedure, the Hugshirt records a hug like you would record a movie and deliver the data to your mobile via Bluetooth through a mobile App. You would obviously sense touch, warmth and emotion of the hug from a distant loved one.

Soundbrenner is another incredible product for enhanced feelings. Life is all about music, and Soundbrenner is all about the musician. Sounderbrenner helps you feel and keep up with a song’s beat and metronome – one of the most important factors if you want to become an influential musician. The wearable can be worn on your wrist, your upper arm (for guitarist and pianist) or around your ankle (for drummers.) With a vibrational cue, the rhythm comes to you naturally- just as if a taps on your shoulder.

Haptic technology taps into new methods of expression and creativity using our sense of touch. Apple smart watch also gives a hand in the revolution of haptic technology which is known as “taptic engine” allowing more than the human touch. The taptic engine provides several kinds of notifications and actions for each function. Thus, even when you turn the audio off, you can feel the difference between an alarm and an incoming phone call without looking.

We often equate the need for physical closeness with the need for sex. However, anyone can understand that as time goes by, people can move far apart from each other. Nonetheless, the desire for a nurturing touch remains strong. This is the reason why many engineers are working to improve haptic technology for human beings. With a small wearable device our feeling and touching senses can adapt to be stronger than ever. Distance means so little when wearable haptic technology does so much.