Using an emergent technology called layer jamming, researchers in UniSA’s Wearable Computer Laboratory are exploring computer-controlled wearable items that will exponentially change the way we consider and control movement in both real and virtual environments.
Smart wearables intend to vastly improve tactical experiences across multiple applications – from computer gaming to injury rehabilitation.
The current prototype is a wearable mitten, which generates real-time sense-of-touch (haptic) feedback—much like the vibration of a mobile phone notification—by enabling vacuumed bladders in layers of the mitten to create stiffness that restrict or enable movement.
The mitten delivers tactile feedback that lets users feel virtual objects. For example, a gamer popping the cork from a virtual champagne bottle will sense the grip, resistance and sudden release of the cork.
Smart wearables also provide significant benefits for health, including injury rehabilitation, and remote health monitoring. Limbs can be easily immobilised and rehabilitated, with medical staff being able to remotely and accurately adjust and monitor the exact degree of immobilisation as the injury heals.
For people who suffer from tremors, smart wearables can offer stiff exoskeleton support for limbs and joints to improve functionality of everyday activities such as brushing your teeth or holding cutlery. And unlike restrictive braces, the supports relax once the task is completed, giving the user flexibility.
Connect with Wearable Computer Lab wearables.unisa.edu.au