Shantanu Bala

| hello@sbala.org

Moment from Somatic Labs

Somatic Labs exists to create devices capable of augmenting consciousness by ensuring the salience of important information. Through haptics, we can discreetly convey large streams of information without introducing visual or auditory distractions. Such technology can not only provide more engaging user experiences, but can also assist individuals adjusting to a disability or recovering from an injury.

Moment, Somatic Labs' first product, is a bluetooth-enabled wrist band that stimulates the surface of a user's skin in patterns according to the notifications received on their smartphone. A smartwatch without the extra screen.

Research Projects

Tactile-Audio Substitution

Using a grid of 48 vibrotactile actuators, the system translates the frequencies of an audio stream into a tactile sensation that moves across a wearers back. An experiment was also conducted to explore the use of the device as an assistive aid for people with cochlear implants.

Affective Haptic Display

Though human emotions span a broad spectrum of expressions, they can be categorized into six basic emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust. This experiment explored the ways those emotions can be communicated through our sense of touch using a haptic display on the back.

Haptic Face Display

A subset of the facial muscle movements (facial action units) http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~face/facs.htm that express emotions in a conversation were translated into touch strokes displayed on a user's back through tactile stimulation. With the Haptic Face Display, a visually impaired user could still have access to important gestures and social cues during a conversation.

Experiment on Augmenting Social Cues

By providing stimulations across the waist with a haptic belt, we conducted a Wizard of Oz study) Wizard of Oz Experiment (Wikipedia) to eplore the usefulness and efficacy of delivering visual body mannerisms that indicate agreement or disagreement as tactile cues accessible to people with visual impairments.

Augmented Motor Learning

A wearable haptic device designed to deliver vibrotactile emoticons to a person with a visual disability - during a conversation, they could have access to the visual cues that enrich social interactions for sighted people.

VibroGlove

A wearable haptic device designed to deliver vibrotactile emoticons to a person with a visual disability - during a conversation, they could have access to the visual cues that enrich social interactions for sighted people.

Web Projects

Ebook Glue

Ebook Glue solves a simple frustration: difficulty in publishing content for electronic reading devices. It started off as a small side project, and has evolved into a growing web application that thousands of people rely on to publish their content online.

Haptics.js

Haptics.js is a simple JavaScript library that allows you to implement vibrotactile effects using the HTML5 implementation of navigator.vibrate(). In addition to providing a cross-browser compatibility layer, Haptics.js allows you to quickly create different vibrotactile effects, including fading vibrations, heartbeats, notifications, and error alerts.

Interactive Immunology

An easy-to-use interactive web site for learning concepts in immunology used by physiology professors at Arizona State University.

Quicklyst

Quicklyst is a simple note-taking tool that allows users to quickly create outlines and bullet lists for brainstorming.

Small Ideas

How to Write a Language Detector in 50 Lines of Python