Teacher is an intriguing prototype that uses haptic feedback and wrist control mechanisms to improve the wearer’s drawing skills. The invention explores the idea of using wearable robotics to teach humans – piano playing is another example given by its creator – and initial feedback from the test subjects who’ve played around with the device has been very positive, even if it’s not the most streamlined gadget around.
Teacher is part of a final project by Saurabh Datta, studying at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. “I’m a big fan of DIY robotics and always wanted to have something on my hands,” says Datta. “The thought of [the] embodiment of technology is intriguing with the added benefit [that] one day we might use them to understand and improve upon certain acts.” In theory, wearable pads offering haptic feedback could guide us in everything from skiing lessons to driving a car.
Teacher, though, is focused on drawing – it gently nudges the wearer’s hand into the correct position to follow the route of a predefined sketch. Salvaged printer parts and an Arduino board were used to build the bulk of the device, which is based on another project from Datta called Forced Fingers. The contraption has also been shown off at the Stanford University conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI).
“When I started… learning alphabets my teachers used to hold my hand with the pen and trace on the paper multiple times,” says Datta. “As a support, can technology help us here rather than just giving us directions of what to do?… So I decided to see what it feels like when a machine holds your hands while you are performing a task. How does it delivers these new experiences and expectations and how we react to it?”
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