Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Haptics

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

The BIG UltraHaptics system hardware, showing the phased array ultrasonic emitter and its ...

Holodeck, anyone? Researchers at Bristol University are developing a system known as UltraHaptics that uses ultrasonic force fields to project the tactile sensations of objects in midair. Currently used for a haptic computer interface, the system might eventually enable touchable holograms.  Read More

A user of Disney's new system is able to feel the ridges in a trilobite fossil, even thoug...

Our smartphones and tablets may be able to show us what things look and sound like, but with their flat glass screens, there's no way that they could indicate what something feels like ... right? Actually, they may soon be able to do that, too. Researchers at Disney Research, Pittsburgh have developed a system that lets users' fingertips feel a simulated bump through a flat screen, that corresponds to a bump in the displayed image.  Read More

The 3D printed Haptic Feedback Shift Knob and internal workings

Harnessing the power of Ford’s open-source platform OpenXC, 3D printing, Bluetooth and a Xbox 360, one of the Detroit automobile manufacturer’s engineers has created a manual shift gear knob that vibrates (haptic feedback) at the optimum time for a gear change.  Read More

Aireal is a new haptic technology from Disney Research

With systems like the Kinect and Leap Motion, controlling a gadget with just the wave of a hand is starting to become much more commonplace. The one drawback to those gesture-based devices however is that you never actually touch anything. No matter what you see on the screen, you're still very aware that you're just moving your hands through the air. The Pittsburg branch of Disney Research may be able to change that with Aireal, a low-cost haptic system which fires out small rings of air that allow people to feel virtual objects.  Read More

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