This robotic wearable teaches you how to draw with haptics

Teaching not tracking with this incredible student project
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This machine operates the wearer, not the old fashioned other way round. Why? So we can learn to draw as well as a robotic arm.

Teacher is the brainchild of Saurabh Datta, a Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design student, and it's a piece of robotics that you can strap to your wrist to guide drawing through force - Teacher gently moving your hand for you - and haptics - vibrations that nudge your movements in the right direction.

The prototype is based on Datta's previous project Forced Fingers but adds control of the wearer's wrist to the equation. The device is made from salvaged printers and controlled by a hacker-friendly Arduino board.

The idea is that instead of designing and making robots to do everything for us, we can build robots to help humans improve their own skills - a noble cause.


On his website Datta also talks about modifying the device to allow for a machine to teach someone to play the piano, for instance. "Many people claimed that the experience of getting a forcing reaction by this small contraption, to repeat their actions, is very experiential and cannot be made understood by just speaking," he explained.

"They said they could see potential for people using it for learning things like music and instruments, if it is made a bit more embodied and flexible and not so machine like."

Datta presented Teacher at Stanford University's Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI) this month alongside other exciting wearable concepts such as Microsoft Research's smart scarf.

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Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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