Archive for the ‘haptic’ Category

Imagine a story. Create a book!

Monday, January 12th, 2009


Orit Zuckerman a good friend of mine from the Media Lab –we worked together on a few cool projects– now opened her company, Tikatok, that allows you (or your child) to create books based on her stories. You can also order the books made by the children in the community. Such a neat idea! Orit regularly organizes contests, so the company is now growing as a community of young writers. Tikatok also welcomes teachers, parents and libraries.

During winter break, Lauren showed me this beautiful video of this cute French girl, Capucine, telling the most creative story (no worries, it is translated in English). Imagine how such a child would do drawing, writing and telling her creations on a real book!

Enjoy watching this ultra cute video:

… you can also help the friends of Capucine in Mongolia design books on Orit’s site …

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

[tags] children, communication, design research, toy, storytelling, book, too-cute-to-be-true [/tags]

Low cost wearable sensor for detecting Electromagnetic fields

Saturday, September 20th, 2008


My work “Electromagnetic Field Detector Bracelet” has been accepted as a video. The video will be presented at Ubicomp in Seoul South Korea during the one minute madness Monday 22nd and during the video reception 17:15 - 19:00!

Abstract of the work

We present the design of a cost-effective wearable sensor to detect and indicate the strength and other characteristics of the electric field emanating from a laptop display. Our bracelet can provide an immediate awareness of electric fields radiated from an object used frequently. Our technology thus supports awareness of ambient background emanation beyond human perception. We discuss how detection of such radiation might help to “fingerprint” devices and aid in applications that require determination of indoor location.

Come see me to talk about this work! If you cannot make it, here is the video:

Today, many people fear electromagnetic fields. They believe that ambient fields can negatively influence their health. Perhaps, by visualizing the presence of common electromagnetic (EM) fields, users might feel in control of difficult-to-perceive information and transcend their fear, beginning the process of recognizing and moving beyond fear. An analogy might be found in the cheap RF power meters that are sold to enable people to gauge radiation leakage from their microwave ovens. Conversely, providing users with blind data could increase their paranoia when low-level field leakage from common appliances is visualized. Clearly, people need to be educated in how to properly interpret this data. Regardless of one’s belief on the health impact of background EM fields, visualizing the unseen in this way always leads to fascinating and playful exploration. All devices emit background signals (electrostatically, magnetically, acoustically, and optically) that are characteristic of particular devices and also sometimes indicate that device’s mode of operation. Indeed, government contracts mandate that computers and displays used in highly classified work be kept in shielded rooms (SCIFs) to thwart espionage that monitors such background leakage fields.

The “Electromagnetic Field Detector Bracelet” has been accepted as a video for Ubicomp 2008, Seoul South Korea!

Press on Engadget and Make Magazine.

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

[tags] , bracelet, consumer, culture, DIY, electromagnetic field, EMF, fashion, Media Lab, MIT, mobile, project, technology [/tags]

Robots need hugs too.

Monday, August 25th, 2008


Thank you Adrien!

Iced Chest

Monday, August 25th, 2008



I had designed a system to cool down the body for mental health support. It is always nice to see how such system can be used in another context such as the Nike Lab that designs innovative garments for athletes. One of the product, that I found in the Print edition of Fast Company Magazine, is a jacket that cools down the body. Discovering that performance falls off drastically when core body temperature hits 103 degrees, the Nike lab designed a vest that slows the rise of core body temperature. It is simply filled in with water, then frozen overnight. The vest is meant to be wear an hour prior to competition.

Screenshot from the Nike designer story

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

[tags] product design, body, health, sport, culture, fashion, fabric, haptic [/tags]

Fashionable Technology: The Intersection of Design, Fashion, Science, and Technology

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

I have authored a chapter in the book Fashionable Technology, edited by Sabine Seymour!

I present my work on fashion garments designed in the context of technology -including the Touch Sensitive apparel developed with Yasmine Abbas. The book just came out and is available for pre-order on Amazon -> here<-

Abstract: The interplay of electronic textiles and wearable technology, wearables for short, and fashion, design and science is a highly promising and topical subject. Offered here is a compact survey of the theory involved and an explanation of the role technology plays in a fabric or article of clothing. The practical application is explained in detail and numerous illustrations serve as clarification. Over 50 well-known designers, research institutes, companies and artists, among them Philips, Burton, MIT Media Lab, XS Labs, New York University, Hussein Chalayan, Cute Circuit or International Fashion Machines are introduced by means of their latest, often still unpublished, project, and a survey of their work to date. Given for the first time is a list of all the relevant information on research institutes, materials, publications etc. A must for all those wishing to know everything about fashionable technology.

->Buy the book<-

Therapeutic objects

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

Having researched and designed haptic devices to support psychotherapeutic treatments, I am fascinated by French designer :) Mathieu Lehanneur’s work on therapeutic objects he conceived with psychiatric consultants: Bernard Lachaux, Patrick Lemoine and model makers: Alban Danguy des Deserts. These objects are part of the permanent collection of the MOMA, NYC.

He proposes a series of objects not only as an attempt to bring design into the medical sphere, but essentially to design medications from the perspective of the patient and his/her illness relationship.

His scenario envisions: the placebo effect, a participation of the patient in his/her treatment, making the medication a communicative and sensory object, debating on the mechanistic approach of modern pharmacology, playing on emotions of attraction, desire, fear and repulsion towards a device or a particular form using gestures, usage practices and rituals.

Therapeutic felt-tip pen, 2001.

This analgesic for chronic pain is a systemic medication, which acts on all symptoms together. All that is required is to write on the painful area of the body each day and to remove the used cartridge at the end of each day. This transdermal product is coupled with a user-friendly ink that disappears after several minutes.

The Third Lung, 2001.

This project consists of a base treatment for asthma. The patient who refuses to accept his illness will reject even more the idea of taking medication unnecessary. The idea behind this therapeutic object is to establish a relationship of dependence.

But in this case the medication is dependent on the patient. Between two doses, the volume of the medication increases, this displaying its own physiological problem and indicating to the patient the urgency of taking the medication. Once the dose is administered, the volume decreases and returns to its normal level, only to expand once again until the next dose is administered.

The First Mouthful

Posted by Cati Vaucelle

A portent of human augmentation

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

Greasy Spoon, 2007 by Brian Walker

In our cyborg world, I think it would be nice if prosthesis could mean expanding human skills or on a contrary re-creating fragile and powerless human sculptures.

Examples of prostheses

  • Researchers explored the ability of the skin to acquire and process information rivaling our senses of sight and hearing. The e-skin lab researches on tactile interfaces consisting both of sensors and actuators: wearable artificial skins as a navigation aid in space.
  • The Rheo Knee made by Ossur adapts to an individual’s walking style by detecting 1,000 times every second the knee’s position and the load applied to the limb. The user gets the proper amount of resistance for every step.
    Via wired
  • Victhom’s urinary implant, a catheter-free, fully implanted pacemaker for the bladder. If trials go well, it could help 800 million people worldwide with bladder dysfunctions caused by spinal cord injury.
  • Durom™ Hip Resurfacing a joint replacement system that offers “freedom” of movement.
  • The cyberhand gives amputees the ability to use thought to move and grasp naturally, even to feel whatever the device touches.
  • A nanotechnology developed at MIT can “knit” together damaged neurons. Researchers have already restored sight to rodents and they believe the technique might also help repair injured spinal cords
  • Penn State developed the first fully implantable artificial heart, and in 2000 AbloMed acquired rights to further develop the technology. It is FDA approved only for emergency use and the company hopes to have broader approval by 2008. Eventually, researchers hope it can be a long-term solution for heart failure patients.
  • Current research on technological prostheses by Hugh Herr -director of the bio mechatronics group at the MIT Media Laboratory- transforms the perception a person wearing a prosthesis has of his artificial body part. While the mechanical properties of conventional passive prostheses remain fixed with walking speed and terrain, this research explores the prosthesis not just as a passive object, but also as an extension of the body. The prosthesis enables additional mechanical energy for forward propulsion of an ankle as well as controlling the ankle joint impedance.
  • The rehabilitation institute of Chicago made a biohybrid arm that allows amputees to move the prosthetic by thought alone.
  • For patients who have lost the use of their arms, scientists at the Cleveland FES Center are developing functional electrical stimulation systems.
  • Harvard and Massachisetts General Hospital researchers are developing an implantable artificial electrolarynx communication system for patients who have had a complete laryngectomy. The technology includes a neural interface and hands-free control of a natural sounding voice prosthesis.
  • Advanced Bionics made a cochlear implant that sends sounds directly to the auditory nerve instead of amplifying sound like a regular hearing aid.
  • IIP technologies and Intelligent Medical Implants made a retinal implant that bridges and replaces the processing function of a defective retina. Using it some blind persons can regain partial vision and orientation, even in unfamiliar surroundings.
  • A silicon hippocampus replacement could eventually replace damaged areas of the brain. Currently being developed by scientists at the University of Southern California.
  • Cyberkinetics created Braingate, a neuroprosthetic system with a patch that attaches directly to neurons in the brain to sense electrical signals. The sensor sends signals that can move a computer cursor or flip a switch.
  • Living bacteria have been incorporated into an electronic circuit to produce a supersensitive humidity sensor. Similar devices could one day be made that take greater advantage of living organisms, perhaps even using bacteria’s energy systems to power electrical devices. Via We make money not art.
  • Microsoft Research filed a patent on power and data transmission through the human body. The human body is used as a conductive medium, which distributes power and/or data by coupling a power source to the human body via a first set of electrodes. In this case, the body acts as a computer network.

    Don’t forget to check out the insightful Prosthetic Impulse: From a Posthuman Present to a Biocultural Future

    The prosthesis is not a mere extension of the human body; it is the constitution of this body qua “human.”
    —Bernard Steigler,Technics and Time

    Natalie Portman by freaking news.

  • Cooling down or heating up the body

    Friday, August 31st, 2007

    At MIT, Tangible Media Research Group, we created Cool Me Down, a flexible fabric wrap with electronic heat pumps and metallic sinks that generates a cooling sensation. we originally designed the system for the treatment of schizophrenia within a care-giving facility. Conducting case studies at a local hospital, we discovered that this technology could be used to accompany usual treatment for other mental conditions.

    Throughout the research I explored ways of heat synchronization with the body instead of triggering artificial heat independently from the body. I recently found a fascinating product CoreControl developed by researchers Dennis Grahn and H. Craig Heller.

    Problem: “Overheating is a serious concern when exercising in hot environments, wearing insulative clothing, or during high intensity activity. CoreControl can be used to effectively remove heat from the body in a variety of settings.”

    Solution: “CoreControl TM powered by RTX cools you quickly and safely from the inside out. With patented, cutting-edge technology, it rapidly cools your body core first, unlike ice packs, vests, and misting fans, which cool you from the outside in. CoreControl enables you to consistently perform at your peak.”

    CoreControl diagram by Nigel Holmes, from Just Cool It’s article in Stanford Magazine.

    CoreControl’s web site

    Scarf with electrically operated massager

    Thursday, July 19th, 2007

    Scarf with electrically operated massager United States Patent 6537235, by Connor, Clara (Fountain Valley, CA, US) and Busto, Ernest J. (Cypress, CA, US), March 2003.

    A combination massager and scarf assembly having a number of electrical motors secured in a flexible casing, which flexible casing is removably secured in the interior of the scarf. The scarf is wrapped around the flexible casing and the motors in the casing are electrically connected to a control box having an A.C. or D.C. power supply to actuate the electrical motors. The control box includes a knob to regulate the speed of vibration of the motors.

    A breathing robot

    Thursday, June 14th, 2007

    Few weeks ago, I carried in my arms Omo, Kelly Dobson’s new companion robot. A very therapeutic robot, it expands and matches your breathing. Made of rubber, shaped like an egg to be carried in your arms, it feels soft and alive.

    Omo is an alternative relational object. While similar to “carebots” and companion robots, Omo draws on ongoing Machine Therapy work revealing the psychological, social, and political dynamics between people and machines. As a result, Omo’s role is empathic and sometimes unexpected rather than normative. Omo breathes and senses the breathing of anyone interacting closely with it, matching—or seeking to lead—patterns of breathing. Omo does not always privilege soothing.