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Tacit: Haptic Wrist Rangefinder from MAKE Volume 29

When Steve Hoefer sent in his prototype of the Tacit haptic wrist rangefinder, we had a field day with it taking turns walking around MAKE headquarters with our eyes closed. Using it is super intuitive: with your hand extended, the servos vibrate as you get closer to an object, like a wall, and alert you to stop or change route. The closer the object, the greater pressure Tacit puts on your wrist. Steve wrote up the project for us and it appears on the pages of the current issue, MAKE Volume 29, a perfect fit for the DIY Superhuman theme.

The best part of Steve’s intro is when he talks about the first version of Tacit he made:

My first version of Tacit was a headband with vibration motors that ran faster when objects came closer. But this design had a distracting “mad science” look, and most obstacles, like furniture, are below head level. I also found that motors vibrating against your skull will quickly drive you insane. I realized that it was my own sighted prejudice to want to attach vision-simulating sensors to the head. The hand is more directable and useful, and putting a device on the back of the wrist leaves the fingers free.

Here’s Steve describing the deets of how Tacit works:

We’ve shared the full build instructions with you on Make: Projects so you can get started right away. To tap more of your Superhuman potential, pick up a copy of Volume 29, on newsstands now.

From the pages of MAKE Volume 29:

MAKE Volume 29

We have the technology (to quote The Six Million Dollar Man), but commercial tools for exploring, assisting, and augmenting our bodies really can approach a price tag of $6 million. Medical and assistive tech manufacturers must pay not just for R&D, but for expensive clinical trials, regulatory compliance, and liability — and doesn’t help with low pricing that these devices are typically paid for through insurance, rather than purchased directly. But many gadgets that restore people’s abilities or enable new “superpowers” are surprisingly easy to make, and for tiny fractions of the costs of off-the-shelf equivalents. MAKE Volume 29, the “DIY Superhuman” issue, explains how.

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Goli Mohammadi

I’m a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

I was an editor for the first 40 volumes of MAKE. The maker movement provides me with endless inspiration, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. Covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made.

Contact me at snowgoli (at) gmail (dot) com.


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