You’re at your friend’s house. Close your eyes and start going from room to room, getting a cup of coffee or something to snack. Impossible without bumping into chairs or spilling coffee, right? A second-skin that “feels” data and sends haptic feedback might help, though. Interactive Architecture Lab developed one called Sarotis #objectmagic
Sarotis attaches to the body and guides the user according to info sent by inflating or deflating. The second-skin was built by mixing soft robotics with depth sensors and can work with Google’s Project Tango. In fact, during tests, Google’s 3D-sensing computer vision tech was used. Engineers drew a path in 3D space and then blindfolded subjects to see if it can follow it with Sarotis’ help.
As it turned out, subjects could sense the turns and ends of corridors. The pressure exerted by the inflation and deflation of the skin acted like a friends’ helping hand in an unfamiliar environment. More impressive is the fact that participants could draw the maze afterwards, remembering the directions.
Sarotis could easily become a practical aid for visually impaired people. Instead of depending on dogs and other people to guide them through a given space, they could make their own schedule and become independent once again thanks to this skin. That said, the Interactive Architecture Lab believes that such a technology could be used to revolutionize the way we navigate, play or even stay safe.