Daelphinux

Reason and understanding are the arms of our souls

Using Haptics for Directional Hearing Part 5: Test Set Up and Code

So, once I made the decision to move to digital I had to re-work my plan from analog to Digital. To this end I have reconfigured the circuit to use an Arduino Uno. First I am going to perform a simple microphone test to ensure that an LED will vary in brightness based on the input of a microphone. This will allow me to approximate what changes I will see from the vibration motor when I reach that stage of testing.

Here is the Fritzing diagram of the test set up.

Fritzing Diagram of Hearing Aid

The circuit: Fritz’d for your viewing pleasure.

So, a brief overview: the microphone has a 1K ohm pull up resistor and an input line to Analog pin 0. The code will then take this value and modulate it with PWM to the output of Pin 5 which will provide power to an LED via a 1K ohm resistor. For reference, the code is below:

Ideally, if set up correctly, the LED will vary in brightness based on the level of the sound the microphone picks up. I will be testing this over the next day or so; hopefully I will have some good news.

If you have any questions or ideas, leave them in the comments below.

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.

Egalitarianism.

I have heard a lot of flak given to those who say “All Lives Matter”. With analogies to fixing a broken bone before the skeletal system and feeding the least fed person at the table, which are both efforts that need solving; yet it must also be said that you don’t fix one bone by breaking others, nor do you feed one person by starving another. Both of these problems are solved by fixing the system in which the break or the starvation occurred.
 
I’ve heard the response that those who feel that “All Lives Matter” should respond to why they do not believe that we should have Universal Healthcare, or find a resolution to the homeless problem in our country. These are good questions for someone who would appear to believe in an egalitarian world. However, there are people claiming that “All lives matter” who are countering racism with supremacy; but this is not the way to handle the problem.
 
I find that there are a good number of people who believe strongly that we need Universal Healthcare, and homes and food for all. We need a society that no matter the color of your skin, your creed, your sexuality, or your appearance, nor anything for that matter, should diminish one’s right to exist, peacefully, and live in a compassionate way. All people, and I do mean ALL people, should be free to pursue a happy and prosperous existence, free from discrimination, free from prejudice, and, most of all, measured on their merits.
 
Each person, from birth, has the same potential to succeed, and each person should be given the tools and conditions to make that potential a reality. Different situations yield different successes; some people will be farmers and presidents, others will be engineers and groundskeepers. What we need to realize as a people is that all jobs, no matter their responsibility, are important and have their place.
 
We have an amazing world full of amazing people all with amazing potential, yet it seems like all we can do is shoot at each other and spread a message of hate and intolerance. No one should be shooting anyone; no one should hate anyone. We should fight to make this world what we want it to be, to make this world a paragon of equality and loving-kindness, not turn it into something worse than it already is.
 
Maybe a better way is to believe that all of our lives are important. We are all in need of understanding and kindness. We are all very capable of giving understanding and kindness. Perhaps this is how we should move forward into the world. With peace, and with compassion.

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.

Using Haptics for Directional Hearing – Part 2: Schematic

The first step to take in this project is to build and test the circuitry to make sure the concept will actually work as intended. I developed this schematic over the course of a few days. The parts list and pricing are all from SparkFun.

Directional Hearing Aid Schematic

Directional Hearing Aid Schematic

The LM358 should amplify the sound enough to allow for the vibration motors to spin when a sound is heard. Given the analog nature of the circuit, the vibration of the motor should be directly proportional to the sound being picked up by the microphone. The total cost of the project, for setup will be about 40 USD (probably closer to 45 USD after shipping), which will include capacitors and resistors for 2 or 3 of these items, and a breadboard for testing. It is a personal pet peeve when people write parts lists assuming you have boatloads of capacitors, resistors, and breadboards laying around. This price list includes everything you need, minus the battery.

Component Part # Price per Unit Quantity Total
Microphone COM-08635 0.95 2 1.9
Vibration Motor ROB-08449 4.95 2 9.9
LM358 Op-Amp COM-09456 0.95 1 0.95
Breadboard PRT-00112 9.95 1 9.95
2 Pin Connectors PRT-10501 0.5 4 2
9V Battery Clip PRT-10512 2.95 1 2.95
Barrel Adapter PRT-10811 0.95 1 0.95
1k Ohm Resistor COM-13760 0.95 1 0.95
10K Ohm Resistor COM-11508 0.95 1 0.95
Capacitor Kit KIT-13698 6.95 1 6.95
TOTAL COST 37.45

Using Haptics for Directional Hearing – Part 1: Concept

My wife is deaf in one ear; I mean almost completely. The only things she can hear in that ear would make normal people (or her other ear) go deaf. This has posed a problem on more than one occasion with our two kids. They will call out to her and it will take her a couple tries to figure out which room they are in. It is also interesting to call out to her in a store and watch her check every direction until she can see where I am calling from.

I was wondering if there was some way to help her work out directional hearing with a wearable device. A while back I was turned onto an anklet that would let you know which direction you were facing. It turns out that the human body will learn to filter out common sensations, such as vibration, over time while still intuitively sensing the changes in said vibration (a phenomenon well known in haptic devices). With this in mind I begun designing a device that will use a pair of microphone earrings to pass audio through a pair of op-amps that will power a pair of vibration motors, one on each arm in an armband worn under the clothes. This will allow, I hope, my wife to be able to determine the direction of sound. A schematic and parts list is forth-coming and a prototype will follow soon after.

Keep tuned-in for updates.