An innovative underwater glove imitates the way dolphins navigate their surroundings to extend humans’ sense underwater.

The IrukaTact glove can find objects underwater and then transmit the findings to the swimmer through a change in water pressure.

The technology could be extremely useful in rescue situations when the water visibility is bad.

A small ultrasonic device on the glove uses sound to determine the size and distance of something underwater.

It then activates pumps on the glove, which pressurizes the water in the fingertips.

The creators from the Japanese Univeristy, EMP Tsukuba University, said the glove currently has a broad range that will likely be tinkered with.


The IrukaTact glove uses water pressure to share information about the swimmer’s surroundings. Photo: Courtesy of Aisen Caro Chacin

“This is a very broad range,” co-creator Aisen Caro Chacin told Fast Co.Exist, “and we are still working on a new interface design in order to give users the liberty to choose their own range within the sensor’s capacity.”

The creators have made their findings available to all, and a kit can be downloaded and 3-D printed.

Chacin encouraged people in flood-prone areas to download the kit and keep the glove handy.

“Everyone who lives in areas that are prone to flooding, such as tsunami, hurricane, and tropical storm areas is encouraged to download the DIY and User Manual, where all instructions for assembly and parts list are detailed,” Chacin said.

It might be a good idea to give it a test spin before trying it out in an emergency situation.

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