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Tactile

Electronics

Ultrasound makes for palm-based computer displays you can feel

From buzzing phones to quivering console controllers, haptic feedback has become indispensable in modern computing, and developers are already wondering how it will be felt in systems of the future. Sending ultrasound waves through the back of the hand to deliver tactile sensations to the front might sound a little far-fetched, but by achieving just that UK scientists claim to have cleared the way for computers that use our palms as advanced interactive displays.Read More

Science

First bionic fingertip implant delivers sensational results

Dennis Aabo Sørensen may be missing a hand, but he nonetheless recently felt rough and smooth textures using a fingertip on that arm. The fingertip was electronic, and was surgically hard-wired to nerves in his upper arm. He is reportedly the first person in the world to recognize texture using a bionic fingertip connected to electrodes that were surgically implanted above his stump.Read More

Wearables

Proximity Hat presses users' heads to guide them

We've already seen a number of systems designed to alert blind users to objects in their path, and most of those systems use cues such as audio tones or vibrations. A scientist at Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, however, has taken another approach. Florian Braun's "Proximity Hat" applies pressure to the wearer's head, in the direction of the obstacle.Read More

VR

Feelreal VR Mask and Nirvana helmet let gamers smell and feel the action

In what could just as easily prove to be a very bad idea as it could a good one, a startup company called Feelreal has created a virtual reality mask and helmet that lets you smell virtual environments. The company claims its devices stimulate both the olfactory (smell) and tactile (touch) senses, thereby immersing you in virtual water mist or wind or a battlefield.Read More

Mobile Technology

Phorm adds a disappearing tactile keyboard guide to the iPad mini

Three years ago, California-based startup Tactus Technology unveiled a pretty nifty prototype – it was a touchscreen which featured clear round buttons that could rise up over top of the characters on a mobile device's virtual keyboard, giving users the tactile sensation of using a physical keyboard. When not needed, however, those buttons flattened down and the screen became entirely smooth again. Now, that prototype has become a product known as Phorm, designed for use with all versions of the iPad mini. Read More

Mobile Technology

Tactonics wants to put feeling into text messages

Hoping to bring back a bit of the personal touch to today's cold, impersonal digital communications, New Jersey-based startup Tactonics thinks the world might just get hooked on Tact messaging. With about the same effort it takes to send an emotionless, poorly spelled text message, you could send your loved ones a more heartfelt, meaningful "sensory message" that is intended to let them get in touch with your feelings.Read More

VR Feature

Haptic technology: The next frontier in video games, wearables, virtual reality, and mobile electronics

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

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