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  • Augmentation Lab

Haptic Ring


15 x 15 mm fabricated PCB with a bluetooth-enabled microcontroller that goes on the top side of the ring
15 x 15 mm fabricated PCB with a bluetooth-enabled microcontroller that goes on the top side of the ring

Introduction

We’re building a small non-invasive sensory addition ring for sensing magnetic fields. Equipped with a magnetometer to record magnetic fields through all 3 axes, we can translate this data into a pattern of vibrations via tiny piezo element chips that have close contact with your skin. Such a device is a novel way to allow people to offer individuals a new dimension of perception, allowing them to gain insights into the hidden magnetic landscapes of their surroundings. Drawing inspiration from the proven success of sensory substitution wristbands for the deaf community, our device utilizes human brain plasticity to facilitate the acquisition of magnetoreception. The potential beneficiaries of this project extend to biohackers and those with an interest in human augmentation, providing them with an avenue to explore and augment their sensory experiences without resorting to surgical interventions. We tackle the challenge of expanding human perception in an accessible and non-invasive manner, ultimately enriching our understanding of the world around us.


3D-printed ring enclosure
3D-printed ring enclosure


Detailed information

Current state & origins

This project originated from a personal side project this past summer. Having met an individual who implanted a magnet into their fingertip to sense magnetic fields coming out of electrical appliances, we got inspired to develop a similar device, but in a non-invasive way, leveraging the concept of sensory substitution. As of today, we have built the electrical system, consisting of two separate PCBs, and the mechanical system, consisting of a 3D enclosure (see supplement). We are currently writing the firmware.


This is a render of a PCB with a magnetometer, piezo drivers, and piezo elements
This is a render of a PCB with a magnetometer, piezo drivers, and piezo elements


Context & Background

Academic research has shown that deaf people are able to distinguish between different sounds by wearing a sensory substitution wristband that translates audio frequencies into a pattern of vibrations on the skin. With the plasticity of the brain, after a few weeks, they learned to correlate these vibration patterns and listen through the skin. Similarly, we want to build a device that would allow people to acquire an entirely new sense, such as magnetoreception. The proposed device is in the ring form factor. Our hypothesis is that since fingers have more nerve endings than your wrists, a person wearing the ring would learn a new sense faster.


Future

Inga and Aedan are currently writing the firmware for the Haptic Ring.



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