Hello everyone! My name is Yvonne and I’m a graduate student in the Tangible Interaction Design Program (MTiD). This will be my second semester here, so I am still a newbie if you will. Prior to studying here I worked as an intern architect in Iowa and in Pittsburgh. Before that I got my undergraduate degree in architecture from Iowa State University. I’m interested in a lot of things, but I guess the relevant ones would be game design, accessible technologies, and making architecture more fun (because honestly, it’s a drag in the profession).
ToeSight is a quick project I did for Making Things Interactive with Nick Durrant. For starters, it is basically a shoe for the visually impaired (or you weird people out there who want to know what it feels like to have your toes vibrated). It’s really simple and consists of an ultrasound sensor and five pager/vibration motors that correspond to your toes. Obstructions that are far, around five feet away will buzz your little toe, and obstructions less than six inches away will buzz your big toe.
It was pretty successful in “sterile” environments such as the interior of a building. I could navigate through doors, rooms, and upstairs with it. Later experiments outside, however, proved to be troublesome due to the excessive amount of “noise” from things such as leaves. I stopped working on it because I felt the vibration feedback (at least how I was using it) was not very robust. In addition, the shoe lacked a lot of exploratory value; unlike the assistive cane, the shoe gave very limited feedback about my environment (I.E. is this grass or concrete?). I haven’t worked on it since the second prototype, but it was a pretty fun project. I’ll probably revisit it with a different technique in mind when it comes to tactile feedback.