Vibration Surround Sound Headset

Evening all

So to put a long story short, I have a younger brother who loves to play counter strike. I don't play it much myself any more but do remember the fun I used to have on it when I was younger. The thing is, he is deaf (or very close to) and he feels very disadvantaged that he can't use sound to help him not get surprised by opponents.

I essentially want to try make a headset to help him out, which would be a vibrating headset. My idea was that it would have a digital input and the output would be a small vibrator that would vibrate based on amplitude. I'm hoping that each channel can activate a separate vibration.

It definitely won't be perfect, but at least in the end of much 2v2/1v1 it'd allow him to hear anyone sneaking up behind him.

I'm happy to trawl through the wealth of information available on the forums, I just want to know if its possible and any good tips on where to start.

any help is sincerely appreciated, I'm pretty excited to try this and surprise my brother when it's done

You can connect the rear-channels to the Arduino's analog input, and from there your software can detect the presence and/or amplitude of the rear-channel signal. If you want both rear channels, you can use two of the Arduino's analog inputs.

The Arduino cannot accept the negative half of the AC audio waveform, so you do need to [u]bias the input[/u] (two equal-value resistors and a capacitor). With the bias, the readings should be centered around 512 (and silence should read about 512), and you can subtract-out the bias in software.

I'd start with that set-up, and just send the readings to the serial monitor to see what kind of readings you're getting, and that should help you decide if it's going to work.

Then you can drive a vibration motor, or maybe generate a low-frequency square wave to create vibration in the headphones. (I'm thinking 10 or 20 Hz, but you'd have to do some experiments.)

In either case, you'll need a driver circuit for the motor or an amplifier to drive the headphones.

I'm pretty excited to try this and surprise my brother when it's done

You can try-out a vibration motor yourself but if you're going to try headphones he'll have to be in-on that part of the development.

There might be a fraction of a second delay while a vibration motor starts-up, so if headphones work that should him a little more reaction-time.

thank you :)

P.S. If you want to experiment with low-frequency tones and headphones, [u]Audacity[/u] has a Generate function that can generate a tone at the frequency of your choice, and you save it as an MP3 or WAV. so, you can do some experiments before you build anything with the Arduino. The Arduino can't generate sine waves, so I'd suggest generating square waves with Audacity.

Your soundcard may have trouble with subsonic waveforms (below around 20Hz) but if you end-up building an amplifier, you can make it go down to DC (zero Hz). You'll hear the harmonics of a square wave (even if it's subsonic and you can't hear the fundamental frequency) but your brother will mostly just feel the vibration.

P.P.S. Or, how about an LED for rear channel sound... Brighter = Louder... or maybe an array of LEDs as a VU meter? Maybe separate LEDs for left-rear & right-rear?

BE AWARE that vibration of the head may cause brain damage.