2015 Detroit NAIAS Auto Show

Haptics

The next frontier in human-computer interaction will be all about making you feel the virt...

Tactile feedback is nothing new. It's been used in telecommunications and in entertainment for decades, and it became a standard feature in the late 1990s in mobile phones and video games – where vibrations alert you to new messages or help you "feel" the forces exerted on your avatar. Haptic technology has been very much a bit player in the fields that it's infiltrated, though, and only now are we seeing it begin to take its place alongside visual and audio tech as a key element in human-computer interaction.  Read More

Body-mounted astronaut joystick (Photo: ESA)

It may look like the ultimate gaming joystick, but its purpose is very serious. On the International Space Station, astronauts recently finished putting the European Space Agency's (ESA) Haptics-1 joystick through its paces. The purpose of the first force-reflecting joystick in space is to improve how robots and humans interact in weightlessness.  Read More

Researchers have used projected ultrasound to create floating 3D shapes that can be seen a...

Haptic feedback has become a common feature of recent technology, but such systems usually rely on stimulation of parts of the user’s body via direct mechanical or acoustic vibration. A new technique being developed by researchers at the University of Bristol promises to change all of this by using projected ultrasound to directly create floating, 3D shapes that can be seen and felt in mid-air.  Read More

Flow aims to change the way users interact with their devices

When it comes to interacting with our devices, the mouse and the touchscreen are the predominant methods. Senic, the team behind a new device called Flow, is aiming to change that by adding quite a few new ways for users to interact with their computers, smartphones, and tablets.  Read More

The HaptoMime uses ultrasound to make users feel like they're touching a display that isn'...

Touchscreen interfaces may make our lives easier, but the things do tend to get smeared with finger oil and whatnot, plus they're notorious for spreading germs. That's why a team of researchers at the University of Tokyo, led by assistant professor Yasuaki Monnai, have developed the HaptoMime. It's an ATM-like interface that lets the user feel like they're touching a glass screen, when in fact they're touching nothing at all.  Read More

The KOR-FX 4DFX haptic gaming vest has been in development for five years.

That pounding in your chest when the action gets really intense in a video game or movie takes on a new dimension with the KOR-FX 4DFX, an adjustable and lightweight vest that translates audio into subtle vibrations that are meant to help you feel where explosions occur and gunshots comes from – or simply to better enjoy your favourite music.  Read More

One of four tactile demos on Fujitsu's prototype haptic sensory tablet

Many smartphone or tablet users will already be familiar with receiving vibration feedback when typing on a virtual keyboard, but, though better than nothing, it's not particularly convincing. There have been attempts to make sensory feedback from touchscreens more realistic using electrostatic force, for example, or even creating the sensation of physical buttons by pushing liquid into prearranged tactile pixels, but Fujitsu is claiming to break new ground with its prototype haptic sensory tablet.  Read More

The Lechal haptic shoe, in fiery red

Three years ago, we heard about a prototype shoe that could be used to guide the wearer via haptic feedback. Designed by Anirudh Sharma, who was then a researcher at Hewlett-Packard Labs in Bangalore, India, the Lechal shoe was intended for use mainly by the blind. This week, however, Sharma and business partner Krispian Lawrence announced that the production version of the Lechal will soon be available for preorder, and it's aimed at helping all people navigate the city streets.  Read More

The inFORM display being operated by a remote user via video display (Photo: MIT)

The inFORM Dynamic Shape Display from MIT's Tangible Media Group allows users to interact with data with a minimum of physical barriers. It also allows users to virtually reach through a display screen, and manipulate physical objects that may be thousands of miles away. While the current version of inFORM has very limited spatial resolution, watching it in action gives one a strong impression of the potential of such devices.  Read More

The capsule being tested using silicone gel

Researchers at Nashville's Vanderbilt University have developed a wireless capsule that can restore a sense of touch for surgeons. Keyhole surgeries or other minimally invasive procedures could benefit greatly from this new technology, as the capsule provides haptic feedback to help doctors maneuver and make important conclusions during surgery.  Read More

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