As fascinating as it may appear from here, Space is actually a very dangerous place that is always looking for excuses to get you killed.
These excuses don’t have to be wildly complicated either. In the weird gravitational conditions of various places in our solar system, even a stumble can cause immediate and permanent damage.
This situation is not helped by the fact that the suits used by astronauts are so bulky and ergonomically odd that even staying upright can become a huge struggle.
In these situations, the people up in space face a very dire dilemma, of whether they should focus on their feet or where they are going.
To help them cope with this issue, researchers at MIT are now developing a special type of boot which will take over the navigating part so that astronauts never have to look down again.
These boots use built-in proximity sensors hooked to haptic motors in order to guide the user around obstacles with the help of vibration based feedback.
This setup not only tells the user how close they are to a potential obstacle, but also in which direction the obstacle is located.
While deciding how this concept will work was not that big a feat, the real issue is making sure they get the execution right.
Towards this end, the researchers are experimenting with multiple prototypes that feature different placement options for the sensors/motors, as well as different feedback styles.
The goal is to make sure that the feedback is easily understandable which also being comfortable for the wearer. We are yet to see the final iteration of this concept, but we will make sure to keep you updated when they do come up with it.