By now, hopefully, most of you will have seen Steve Hoeffer’s Tacit haptic wrist rangefinder project in MAKE Vol 29. MAKE regular David Prutchi recently saw it, and just sent me a link to this functionally similar device built by his daughter Hannah back in October.

While Steve’s rangefinder goes “all out” with an embedded microcontroller, “stereo” ultrasonic distance sensors, and matching paired haptic servos, Hannah’s design keeps it super simple: An off-the shelf IR distance sensor, an easy analog circuit, and a pager motor. Unlike ultrasonics, IR sensors can be confused by sunlight or other strong IR sources in the environment, but if you just want to experiment with “bat glove” technology, or if you want to make a large number of sensors, Hannah’s SharkVision design may be for you. The Prutchis are talking about building an entire suit covered with them! [Thanks, David!]


  • rocketguy1701

    One thing to note is that haptic researchers have discovered that pager motors are not the best thing to have as neurological input. Obviously in this case if you’re just playing around it’s no big deal, but for constant use best not to use them.

  • Hank

    Sadly, unless you luck into to some old stock, the Sharp GP2D12 is obsolete with no stocked substitute.

    • David Prutchi

      Thank you Hank for your comment. We had GP2D12s in our parts box, so we didn’t know that it had been discontinued. An available part that seems to be similar enough for this application is the Sharp GP2Y0A21YK0F Analog Distance Sensor. It has the same distance range as a GP2D12 and very similar analog output properties.

      Available at Pololu

  • Hank

    Yea David! Interesting Pololu has bunches and Mouser and Digikey show zilch…go figure. Here are some other models and don’t forget the matching JST connector and cable.