Reason and understanding are the arms of our souls

Using Haptics for Directional Hearing Part 5a: Results!

After a little bit of modification to both the circuit and the code, I HAVE RESULTS! This set up has the motor in the diagram responding to sounds. I think a little bit of calibration in the script will make it work spectacularly. I am officially at the tinkering step. I will give updates on the calibration as it goes on.

Here is the working diagram:

Microphone Test: SUCCESSFUL!

Microphone Test: SUCCESSFUL!

Here is the working code:

On second thought… Maybe I will make an adjustable calibrator for different situations…

Using Haptics for Directional Hearing part 4: Analog to Digital

After much confusion and fighting with the Analog circuit I had proposed before I, after discussion with a colleague, decided to move to a digital representation. So, now, my goal is to use an Arduino to do the circuit control. I’m currently working on a test script and fritzing diagrams to make this work better. I’ll have updates within the next couple of days, and we will see how things are going.

Hopefully, we will have a working prototype.

Using Haptics for Directional Hearing Part 3 – Testing and Setbacks

Sometimes when we have a design that works really well in theory, and then we test it in simulation and it works really well, we decide to take the next step and make one in practice. That is when things tend to go terribly wrong.

I got all of the parts for the Binaural Hearing Assistance Device (B-HAD) today. I was very excited and, after a quick run to the grocery store, set to work on testing the circuit on a bread board. Well, it did not go as planned. After connecting all of the pieces, and finally connecting it to power, I was happy to see the motor buzzing intermittently.

I soon learned it was intermittent because it was shaking its own connection to the breadboard loose…

So after securing that, and it buzzed constantly. I felt like that could not be right, so I started troubleshooting.

I removed the microphone. Still buzzing…

Removed everything but the power leads to the op-amp. Still buzzing…

I do not exactly know what happened, but I feel like that is not what should have gone down. I have sent an email to a gentleman I know much smarter than I in these matters and I am hoping for some feedback to make some real progress. Please, if you have any ideas on what is going on with this circuit, let me know in the comments below.

I will let you all know how that turns out.

Why Haptics?

Haptics is defined as “the science of applying tactile sensation to computer applications in order to enable users to receive feedback in the form of felt sensations” by Encarta, and more generally in the world of Psychology as the study of the sense of touch or other tactile sensations. Haptics is an interesting field to me, it offers a world of opportunity for wearable, or temporary augmentations. There’s a whole subculture of transhumanists out there, grinders, for whom I have immense respect. They work with actually implanting devices within themselves and, in extreme cases, are working on gene bombardment therapies that will allow them to engage in self-induced macroevolution through the use of programmed retroviruses. Although, in practice, I find myself afraid to move to that fringe.

Call it cowardice, but I can not imagine what I would do if an implant went bad and I went blind, deaf, or otherwise unable to perform usual tasks. In lieu of the fearlessness needed to breach into the grinder territory, I want to use Haptics and other similar somatic stimuli coordinated with wearables to approximate the same results. I may not be able to have a magnet put into my finger to let me feel magnetic fields, but with a hall effect sensor, an op-amp, and a vibration motor, I can approximate the same thing. I may not be able to have super senses or strength, but I am confident that exoskeletons and somatic devices will be able to give the same effects; the only difference is that these changes are removable.

I want to evolve and transcend, and I want to use technology to do it, but I’m not sure I’m willing to cut myself up to do it just yet. I will stick with external augmentations for now.