Amphibian

Scuba diving without getting wet

SENSE. Amphibian is a funny project led by Dhruv Jain, a student at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston (USA). This is a virtual reality scuba diving simulator. This technological experience doubles, according to Jain, a kind of scientific and artistic exploration. The young man-who is partially deaf and adept at scuba diving – analyzed the link between his disability and the sensations experienced while diving. “Underwater, all our senses are altered. The view is limited and distorted. Smell, taste and touch are reduced. Hearing is also distorted, but I experience a feeling of peace in these moments that only those who are weightless can feel. »

ORIENTATION. Hence the idea of the Amphibian project : to make everyone feel the disability in an original way, thanks to diving. Without leaving the mainland. The device thus implemented is particularly elaborate. It simulates visual and auditory sensations, but also balance, movements, orientation in space and even temperature variations. “Immersion” is done thanks to an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset accompanied by an audio headset placed on the ears in order to see and hear the underwater environment. The person rests, at the level of the torso, on a movable platform, arms and legs suspended in a harness. Motion sensors help simulate flotation, drag while swimming or temperature. To do this, Peltier modules – which convert an electric current into temperature variations – are attached to the wrists and connected to motion sensors placed on the gloves. Objective: simulate a drop in temperature with depth. This highly advanced simulator will be presented at a conference on human factors in computer science to be held in San Jose, California, between May 7 and 12.

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