Hapticollar is a navigating system for the blind and visually-impaired which conveys information regarding possible direction of movement through vibrotactile stimulation localized on the neck. The invention consists of a vibrotactile collar enabling us to code 8 geographic directions as well as simple maneuvers (stopping, turning) as a sequence of short vibrotactile stimuli on the neck.
The collar controlled wirelessly by a microcontroller can be connected to popular navigation applications, e.g. Google Maps. A visually-impaired person can follow directions without involving their sense of hearing, being the key part of their perception. The solution was designed in collaboration with doctors and physicians to focus on the user’s comfort and safety. The wireless controller, including an energy-efficient power unit, receives information on the movement direction and the necessity to perform a maneuver via Bluetooth.
The system passes the information on to the user through short vibratory impulses, executed by at least one vibrotactile motor with suitable time intervals or at particular moments when the maneuvers should be done. The collar is made of a breathable sports fabric and enables the actuators’ adjustment according to the user’s preference. The low weight of the device and its mobility make it very discreet in use.