STATES CHRONICLE – The technology of 3D printing is already becoming somewhat familiar to us and now a 3D printed sonar glove helps you feel underwater objects.
3D printers seem to have invaded the science and technology fields and are helping to create all sorts of objects which surprisingly enough actually work. For example, NASA will soon launch a 3D printed rocket into space, so what can top that? Although you might think a hand glove is not as spectacular as a rocket, while the latter will go to outer space never to be seen again, the glove is very likely to stick here with us for a while.
We know that sonars are devices which can help us detect various objects underwater, letting us now their location and whether they’re moving or not. A portable sonar is obviously even more helpful, and when you can have full control over it with just one hand, it’s more than we can ask for.
A team of PhD candidates from the Japanese university of Tsukuba have 3D printed a portable sonar which is very similar to a plastic glove, or well, at least the finger-part. What the glove does is allowing you to sense objects underwater without actually touching them.
The glove is called IrukaTact, a combination between ‘tactile’ and the Japanese word for dolphin, as the marine creature was their inspiration for creating the sonar. The glove uses a combination of Arduino Pro Mini, small water jets and a sonar sensor MaxBotix MB7066 which creates a tactile pressure underwater. Depending on the distance between the user’s hand and the object, the water jets will apply more or less pressure.
The device should help people find objects even in murky waters as it enables the user to ‘feel’ an object from a two-feet distance. Although you might think the distance is not that big, it is a start and we could come to bigger distances in the future if the new device gets enough popularity.
The 3D printed glove would be very useful in search and rescue underwater missions or flood-related rescue operations. Therefore, the little device could turn out to be a real life-saver for both the wearer and other people in need of help.
Image source: www.engadget.com