Chris Earley
Published © CC BY-SA

Haptic Neurohacking with the BeagleBone Haptic Cape

Getting Started with Safe Haptic Neuroprosthesis using the Haptic Cape for BeagleBone Green

IntermediateFull instructions provided15 hours6,110

Things used in this project

Hardware components

SeeedStudio BeagleBone Green SeeedStudio BeagleBone Green
[Haptic Cape] Components BOM
This is the entire Bill of Materials for the current Haptic Cape. I'm using octopart since you can just click the "Buy Now" text to import the entire list into a Digikey/Arrow/Mouser cart instead of adding them one-by-one.
[Haptic Belt] Multi-Strand Wire, 26 gauge 10ft+
See if you can find a local electronics supplier for this. I was able to get 100ft for ~$3 at Fry's Electronics.
{Haptic Belt] Connector Socket 24-30 AWG Crimp Pins
These are the socket pins that go in the Molex C-Grid SL housing that mate with 0.1" male headers. Places like Pololu/Adafruit sell pre-crimped cables in short lengths but it's cheaper in the long run just to invest and do it yourself.
[Haptic Belt] Connector Housing, 2 Position, .1" single row
These are the housing that you'll find are used on servos or in the cable assemblies that connect your PC case's front panel to the motherboard. Super useful for making generic, but professional looking, cable assemblies that easily mate with hardware.
[Haptic Belt] Vibrating Motor w/ Encapsulated Shaft
There are multiple manufacturers of ERM motors out there, hunt around for a deal. You can also do what I did and scavenge them from old pagers/phones.
[Haptic Belt] VELCRO Sticky Back Tape - 3/4"
This is something to look for locally. Craft and home repair stores usually carry it.
[Haptic Belt] Athletic "Waist Trimming" Belt
Any belt made of soft material over 2-3 inches wide should work too. Though this trimming belt comes with its own velcro size adjustment which makes it more useful for different waistlines.
[Haptic Belt] Small Cable Ties
These are useful for bundling up loose cable and the size means they wont poke or prod when used in projects like this.
[Haptic Belt] Mini Portable Smartphone Charger
This is used to power the BeagleBone off the grid for a number of hours. Search around for a good deal since there is an active market for these things. You can also skip this altogether and just use a long USB cable if you can stand being tethered.
[Haptic Belt] 2 AA Battery Holder W/ Switch
Even though the 'Bone outputs voltage at a level the the tactors can handle, it can't deliver the current required. So this pack is used to source power for the motors independently from the 3.3V 'Bone rail. These can be found dirt cheap from surplus store if you're willing to hunt around and can be easily substituted with a more appropriate power source if you happen to get beefier tactors.
[Haptic Belt] Small Electronics Carry-all
The size required to store the BeagleBone and all the power supplies will vary depending on what you get but this one is a nice size.
[Demo] Grove - 3-Axis Digital Compass
Buy one of these if you aim to try out the demos. It's not vital for the Haptic Cape to work.

Hand tools and fabrication machines

[Haptic Cape] Soldering Station
This is the soldering station I've used for years. It's done well for me even as I've progressed into SMD work. Some people also swear by the stations from Hakko.
[Haptic Cape] No-Clean Solder Flux
Super useful stuff when dealing with SMD soldering. The kind I have here is nice since it has almost no smell and is easy to paint around just where I need it.
[Haptic Belt] Crimping Tool for 0.1" Housing Crimp Pins
A good ratcheting crimper is a tool you'll love more than you'll admit. Absolutely vital for making professional cable assembles. This one is a steal compared to the > $200 official crimpers from Molex.


Read more


Haptic Cape v1.1 Schematic

This is the Eagle schematic for the Cape itself, exported into pdf format. This file can also be retrieved from the bitbucket repo listed in the software sources.


Haptic Cape Python Library

This repo contains the Python library needed to easily communicate with the Haptic Cape. Just clone it and and check out the examples in the BeagleBone's Cloud9 IDE!

Haptic Cape - Eagle PCB/Schematic Files

This is the repo for the cape's Eagle files. Just clone it and open the .brd file in Eagle [Free Edition is fine] to start generating gerbers for your favorite fab house!


Chris Earley

Chris Earley

2 projects • 17 followers
I'm just a life-long learner with questions to ask and an itch to make.