TACTUS - See with your finger
Tactus is a wearable device worn on the wrist that interprets color and sends the user a tactile response. Think of it as braille for color. Using embedded sensors on the device, color values are translated to a electromagnetic wave that creates a sensation on the users finger. The device can be used by both visually impaired people and those looking to augment their own senses. It creates a new sensory modality for the user and more importantly the ability to not only see art, but feel it.
I began the project with a focus on synesthesia and the ability to induce, over a period of time, a learned response to different stimuli. I believe that humans have the ability to force an evolutionary step in their development. At first, I did not associate my own visual challenges as an influence to my work but with some feedback and a deeper focus on my project, it became apparent that my colorblindness was the motivation for this project.
As a child I was fascinated by shows like “Beyond 2000” and NOVA specials. I remember seeing a segment on a visually impaired person who used echo-location to navigate, allowing him to ride a bike. Another influence of mine is Neil Harbisson, who has labeled himself the first cyborg. He has a device implanted in the back of his skull that sonifies colors. The ability to feel color is a derivative of this work. I also met with Rune Madsen to flush out the mapping of colors to waves and what the feeling should be for each color.