Like thousands being born without 3d vision, I want to experience distance. I thought I have a hearing aid so why not a seeing aid?
What would it look like if I were to make a device that allowed me, or the user, to experience visual information in a new way? Distance and heat seemed to be likely candidates. Safe from oncoming objects and fires or heat sources like machinery. I thought an infrared heat sensor is accurate enough and an ultrasonic distance sensor that would be relevant at a personal body distance of about 5 feet.
There are two considerations for this section, first being the personal aspects and the second being the social ramifications of wearing a Borg-like device.
I am personally comfortable wearing the device as my vision allows for it. I found others who looked through the device found the light to be too bright and distracting. The light can be further defused but more importantly what happens is something the military has coined “helmet fire.” Essentially helicopter pilots who use a wearable computer screen with inflight information being broadcast in one eye and real world vision in the other get confused easily in the heat of combat with the brains ability to process two images at once and can briefly shut down causing the helicopter to crash. It is a real problem. My limited vision lends me well to this technology but the signals need to be very deliberate hence the choice and sequence of colours listed bellow.
Blue light is connected to the thermal sensor and is on when a temperature of 80f or lower is detected. The blue light turns red when above 80f is detected. I used this number, as room temperature won’t set it off. It loves the stove and after some time you can map out the heat in the air with it! It will pick up a hot cup of coffee or body heat at close range of 2-3 feet.
The green LED flashes according to distance so the closer the object the quicker the flashing, simple enough but effective.
Socially wearing the device is another story. Of course here at OCAD-U it I easily accepted and met with great curiosity and fanfare but in public people don’t understand what it is. Hearing aids are well accepted for their sleek, tight form factor so that I am sure is a huge part of why people are uncomfortable with it. I have been asked most of all if the device is recording them. It has no camera or the capability to record any of the incoming information. But just like a hearing aid it provides what is missing and gives the wearer new information in a usable way.
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