“According to Barron’s Richard Adams, the plan would be to build “a small vibrating element” into spacesuit gloves “to create a surrogate for the tactile sense lost behind the insulating and protective layers”.
“Combined with a projection display on the helmet visor, this might allow a suited-up space ace to type away on a virtual keyboard hanging in the air in front of him or her – and feel the keystrokes.”
This technology would be easily applicable on Earth. “It just might be that we’ll all find ourselves in future pulling on a set of air-typing gloves and flipping down our vid-specs rather than sitting down and balancing our laptops on our knees or fondling away at our tablets.”
According to an article on Gizmodo.com, engineers in the Human Factors Division of NASA Ames have a patent pending on an ingenious idea that will help astronauts read digital displays during periods of vibration for “five bucks.”
“During the final stages of a launch… the entire vehicle oscillates rapidly. Add that oscillation to the resonant frequency of the large tube that separates the booster and the crew cabin, and you get a crew capsule that vibrates like crazy. When humans are vibrating to that extent, it’s impossible for them to read a digital display. If the astronauts can’t read, they can’t do their jobs. If they can’t do their jobs, no more mission.
“And then the people in the Vibration Lab had a really, really good idea: By simply strobing the display in time with the vibration, they could kill this problem altogether.
“NASA has a patent pending on the technology, although the problems it solves are decidedly not NASA-specific; helicopters, planes, and fast-moving boats have similar vibrational issues, so it’s very possible we’ll see this implemented elsewhere.”