Cat Whisker Sensory Extension Wearable

Device design by Chris Hill, in collaboration with Annie Kelly, Christine Chang, Nick Gonyea, Mary Yoder, Mary Etta West, Joseph Polman, Shaun K. Kane, R. Benjamin Shapiro (Not published)


This project is a continuation and reimagining of my former colleague’s (metaterra) “Whisker Sensory Extension Wearable”.

The purpose of this project was to focus on the creation of novel, computationally-enriched “sensory extensions” that allow for augmented-sensing of the natural world. My major effort with this project was devoted to the fabrication and implementation of sensory augmentations that will extend a sense through sensors and respond with a tactile output for the user. The intent is to enable anyone to fabricate their own sensory extensions, and thusly map intrinsically human/animal senses onto hardware. Effectively extending our senses in new and exciting ways that will lead to a better understanding of how our brain is able to adapt to new external senses.


The Cat WHisker Sensory Extension Wearable has a total of four whiskers, two for each cheek on the face. The whiskers sit on a piece of cut acrylic and hover above the wearer’s skin to not make contact. The whiskers are composed of a flex sensor that measures the deflection that the whiskers are receiving, polystyrene strips that extend the usable length of the flex sensor and returns the flex sensor to a neutral unbent position, and Sugru, which is a moldable silicone glue that holds the polystyrene strip and flex sensor together. The whiskers connect to an Arduino Uno, which transduces the flex sensor signals to haptic feedback.