It looks like scientists have come the closest to creating a sixth sense — well, sort of. Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Arkansas, Little Rock have designed a robotic glove that will help people with visual impairments identify objects and avoid small obstacles with the help of a network of electrical and mechanical sensors, as well as tiny cameras, to help users "pre-sense" whatever is in their path.

According to a press statement released by the University of Nevada, the wearable necessitates "pre-mapping" the hand of the user-to-be, and then uses this configuration to design a lightweight customized device with precise placement of cameras and sensors unique to the wearer, which form a kind of network.

"The visual sensors, very high resolution cameras, will first notify the wearer of the location and shape, and the proximity touch sensors kick in as the hand gets closer to the object," said Yantao Shen, an assistant professor and lead researcher on the project.

"The multiple sensors and touch actuators array will help to dynamically 'describe' the shape of the object to the hand when the hand is close to the object, allowing people with vision loss to have more independence and ability to navigate and to safely grasp and manipulate," he added.

While the device is primarily in development to aid persons with disabilities and for possible other biomedical research, Shen also believes that the glove can have many applicable uses in the field of space exploration and for search-and-rescue missions.

Via: Digital Trends

Photo: Ben Hosking | Flickr

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