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Haptics

In the quest for more immersive entertainment experiences, researchers at Disney Research, Pittsburgh (DRP) have developed a new tactile technology called Surround Haptics. Instead of just relying on sound and vision – and in the case of video games, vibrating controllers – the system uses a low-resolution grid of vibrating actuators to generate high-resolution, continuous, moving tactile strokes across a person’s skin. They claim the system is able to create smooth, continuous tactile motion, akin to the feeling of someone dragging a finger across someone’s skin, rather than the discrete tactile pulsations or buzzes commonly used in today’s haptic technology. Read More
While the iPod touch 4G is known for its gaming capabilities, it doesn't support haptic feedback, which could enhance the mobile gaming experience. Unveiled at CES 2011, the mophie pulse is aimed at changing that. It's an iPod touch case that utilizes ViviTouch technology, in order to generate tactile feedback in the form of various touchscreen vibrations synchronized with in-game sound effects. Read More
The introduction of the white cane early in the last century gave blind and visually-impaired users a mobility tool that not only helped them to get around, but also allowed them to be seen by others. Now researchers from Sweden's Luleå University of Technology – the same place that designed the autonomous wheelchair – have developed and publicly tested a system which could potentially give wheelchair-bound blind people a virtual white stick to help them detect and avoid obstacles. An electric wheelchair has been fitted with a navigational laser scanner which provides virtual 3D maps of the surroundings, and sends feedback about any obstructions to the user via a haptic interface. Read More
The widespread adoption of credit and debit cards means, for many people, the cashless society is already a reality. However, this means the simple system of checking how much cash you’ve got in your wallet before making a purchase is no longer an accurate reflection of your finances, making it all too easy to succumb to temptation and overextend yourself financially. The Proverbial Wallet project at MIT is looking at “un-abstracting virtual assets” with wallets that provide tactile feedback that reflects a person’s current financial state. Read More
Robot-assisted surgery has a number of advantages over traditional surgery – it’s steadier, more precise, less invasive, plus the surgeon doesn’t even have to be in the same room (or continent) as the patient. One of its drawbacks, however, is the fact that surgeons can’t feel any of the resistance put up by the patients’ tissues – essentially, the controls provide no sense of touch. To address this problem, Linda van den Bedem from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) has created a prototype surgical robot that does provide tactile feedback, and its name is Sofie... or Surgeon’s Operating Force-feedback Interface Eindhoven. Read More
Are you the sort of person who loves touch screen technology but yearns for the mechanical feel and security of a real keyboard? You may be interested to hear that Toshiba’s Libretto w100 dual touch-screen mini notebook will be the first device to hit the market that incorporates Immersion Corporation’s TouchSense 2500 solution that provides touch feedback effects when hitting keys. The haptic effects help to minimize the chance of mis-keying, provide immediate tactile response and allow you to get all touchy and feely at the same time. Read More
It’s not uncommon to see children attempt to reach out and touch objects the first time they don 3D glasses and sit down in front of a 3D TV. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have created a new virtual reality device that enables users to do just that. The relatively low-cost device called the Heads-Up Virtual Reality device (HUVR) combines a consumer 3D HDTV panel and a touch-feedback (haptic) device to enable users not only to see a 3D image, but “feel” it too. Read More
Laparoscopic gastric banding is a common surgical treatment for morbid obesity and the most critical factor in the success of the operation lies in the hands of the surgeon - who needs the proficiency and skill to insert slender, handheld tools into the body of the patient. A team of interdisciplinary researchers, led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has recently won a US$2.3 million federal grant to develop a touch-sensitive virtual reality simulator that will realistically replicate how performing a gastric band operation feels - making it ideal for developing and teaching fundamental surgical skills and for assessing physicians wanting to be certified as a laparoscopic surgeon. Read More
You’ve had a hard day at the office, your spouse is currently over 2,000 miles away and now your boss says he wants you to work late. It’s all you can do to contain your anger until you get into the bathroom, whereupon you let loose with a string of red-faced, high-cardio profanity. At that point, your spouse talks to you via your shirt. “Take it easy, it’s all right,” they coo from your collar, as they play your favorite song, and photos of them scroll across your chest. Hey, it could happen. No, really, it could happen, thanks to the Wearable Absence project. Researchers involved in the program are working on developing intelligent textiles, that comfort the wearer by evoking memories of absent loved ones. Read More
Seeing as we recently told you about the stunningly-goofy HaptiHug, which allows you to receive the physical sensation of a hug via your computer, here’s a similar but much more macho product – the 3rd Space FPS Gaming Vest. With its game-activated internal pneumatic pockets, the FPS has no interest in hugging you, but it will gladly simulate a gunshot to your torso. Read More
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