Victor Mateevitsi from the University of Illinois has designed and built an ultrasonic radar suit that can sense approaching objects and people. ‘SpiderSense’ is a wearable device that would greatly enhance the crime-fighting abilities of a wannabe Spider-Man.
New Scientist reports that it is equipped with small robotic arms and microphones that send and receive ultrasonic signals as they reflect off nearby objects. When it senses something moving closer to the microphone, the arm exerts increased pressure on the body to point out the direction it is approaching from. A number of these robotic arms and microphones are spread across the suit to give the wearer close to 360° ultrasound coverage.
SpiderSense projects the wearer’s nearby environment on the skin and allows for directional awareness of objects around them, with the sensory receptors presenting opportunities for conveying alerts and messages. Mateevitsi tested the suit by blindfolding students and asking them to throw a cardboard ninja star at someone when they sensed their approach, with positive results 95% of the time.
Mateevitsi will be presenting the paper “Sensing the Environment through SpiderSense” on March 7th at the Augmented Human International Conference in Germany and he plans to begin trials of the suit with visually impaired people.