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Haptics

While virtual reality has progressed leaps and bounds in the past few years, with motion-based inputs and a plethora of promising VR headsets close on the horizon, our ability to actually feel what we see in virtual worlds remains limited – especially in the consumer space. But a team of engineering students at Rice University is trying to solve this problem with a haptic glove that lets you feel virtual objects and environments like they're actually there. Read More
We've already seen interactive technologies that create smells or tactile sensations on command. Now, however, British scientists have developed a system that they claim can be used to make users experience specific emotions – and it does so without even touching the person. Read More
Games on Android phones are about to add a new dimension of gameplay. A San Jose, CA company called Immersion has created a way to add a layer of touch to your favorite mobile games, making it feel as though you’re actually there. Through haptic feedback, the company can recreate the feeling of rain or a ball bouncing around on the screen, and even mimic how it feels to drive a car around the track. Read More
When firefighters need to enter smoke-filled buildings to conduct search or rescue, they frequently suffer from low visibility and often need to feel their way along walls or follow ropes reeled out by the lead firefighter. With a limited supply of oxygen carried by each firefighter, being slowed by the inability to see can severely limit their capacity to carry out duties in these environments. Now researchers from King’s College London and Sheffield Hallam University have developed a robot assistant for firefighters that can help guide them through even the thickest smoke. Read More
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
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
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
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
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
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
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