Neosensory Haptic Vest
At Neosensory, we’re building wearable technology that expands human perception. The Haptic Vest is our first hardware device, which harnesses 32 vibrating motors to translate any array of information into patterns you can learn to understand through your torso. The following projects highlight exciting applications ranging from language recognition for the deaf, to silent communication for the military.
We partnered with Westworld and built vests for their SWAT team, that painted a more capable, tech-forward, tactical squad of the future. These vests contain the same 32 motor haptic array, allowing the team to feel the locations of their enemies, making their combat more effective in the dark. Motors vibrate around the torso’s circumference relative to the targets location, with variable intensity conveying proximity.
The Lucy Project
Lucy is a 2 year old girl who is both deaf and blind. She’s one of two deaf blind toddlers we are working with. Our biggest project at Neosensory is centered around translating language into patterns of vibrations that a human can learn. Lucy may be the first human to learn an entirely new language through sensory substitution. She is at a prime age for language development and has the potential to show more promise than our older participants, who have also trained with vests for extended periods of time. National Geographic has partnered with our team to follow her progress closely and we hope to see results over the course of a year.
Our Cofounder and CEO David Eagleman gave a TED talk, publicly introducing our work at Neosensory for the very first time back in 2014. He explains the concept of sensory substitution and the power it has to augment our lives and capabilities as humans. He’s one of the world’s top Neuroscientists, a best selling author, and pioneer in sensory substitution, and we’re incredibly lucky to have him leading our team.
Jonathan Leach was born deaf, and made great contributions as one of Neosensory’s first employees. Over the course of a year he trained with the vest daily, building up an understanding of language and sounds in his environment. He educated the entire team about deaf culture, and taught us all American Sign Language in the process. Together, we conducted a great deal of design research and customer discovery, learning about the audience we hoped to design for. Our findings helped shape the direction of product development, and importantly, allowed us non deaf folks to empathize with the challenges of the silent world.