Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) researchers have developed a "Proximity Hat" that uses head pressure to inform users about their surroundings. The ultrasonic sensors, batteries, and pressure pads can be worn like a hat or headband.
Decreasing or increasing pressure provides the person wearing the hat with information on the proximity of walls, passages, or objects. The system, which measures the surroundings in real time, could help visually impaired persons or firefighters navigate their way around through buildings.
Six modules on the hat accommodate ultrasonic sensors, measuring space in all horizontal directions over a range from a few centimeters to several meters. The 5 x 5 cm² modules make up to 50 measurements per second.
In addition, pads wrapped with elastic plastic are integrated. Pressure on the head of the user increases with decreasing distance of an obstacle. In this way, collisions can be prevented.