I'm looking for some primary feedback on a project I'm designing. Inspired by David Eaglemans Neosensory - a company making vests for the deaf or hearing impaired - I'd like to build a belt or armband with simple coin vibration motors that can provide passive information to the wearer. I believe encoding numbers as vibrations should be a relatively simple place to start while providing some useful information like the current time, direction to the degree, speed, temperature etc. A decent proof of concept basically.
My thinking is that a single motor is essentially a 'switch' (although intensity can be modulated to give more 'steps' to the switch, I'm going to ignore it for now as some research suggests it can be hard to differentiate vibration intensity) so it can basically become a Morse transmitter. Morse code has an effective WPM of 30-50 once you're proficient at it with a single switch and I imagine that WPM grows quickly as you add more motors. If WPM increases linearly with number of motors the average human reading speed of 200 WPM can be achieved with just 6 inputs - though I admit that's a complete guess and I'm sure its more complicated than I'm imagining it does give me hope that this will one day work for all information, not just numbers. Brain plasticity means that a new way (not Morse) to encode information to vibrations can also be applied and trained for, potentially increasing definition and WPM as well which is something I'll be considering.
There have been plenty of papers over the years on what the researchers call "Tactile Displays", mostly focused on sensory substitution, and they all seem to agree that this is possible. I'm wondering if any of you have pursued anything similar and what the roadblocks you ran into were - or what difficulties you believe there could be with a device like this. I'm not a coder or an engineer, I haven't done the maths on power usage and I've never worked with a motor controller. Although I am willing to build it and find it doesn't work, it seems like the sort of thing this forum might know something about before I start.