Photokina 2014 highlights

Tactile

Using a GelSight sensor on one of its pinchers, a Baxter robot is able to guide a USB plug...

Three years ago, we first heard about GelSight – an experimental new system for imaging microscopic objects. At the time, its suggested applications were in fields such as aerospace, forensics, dermatology and biometrics. Now, however, researchers at MIT and Northeastern University have found another use for it. They've incorporated it into an ultra-sensitive tactile sensor for robots.  Read More

It's now possible to hide an object from being felt, thanks to research by scientists at K...

Scientists at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have developed a method of concealing objects from the sensation of touch that would finally meet the exacting standards of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale princess, who felt a single pea prodding her beneath 20 mattresses and 20 feather beds.  Read More

Bttn is a big red button which can be programmed to perform a multitude of tasks

With the world seemingly transferring everything online to apps and cloud services, we're losing touch with how our actions trigger reactions. Bttn, a physical button that can be used in any way its owner sees fit, is an attempt to bring back a tactile element to the way we connect with everyone and everything around us.  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

Electrical contacts located in the fingertips deliver short electrical pulses, stimulating...

While we can counter the deterioration of sight and hearing with glasses and hearing aids, few tools exist for combating a degenerating sense of touch. A common ailment among stroke patients and the aging, treating diminishing tactile perception has proven a complicated task. Looking to provide a wearable solution unimposing enough for everyday use, a research team from Germany's Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) is developing a stimulation glove designed to be worn passively to alleviate such impairments.  Read More

A prototype contact lens is designed to let the visually impaired form a picture of their ...

The Faculty of Engineering at Israel's Bar Ilan University has developed a prototype of a contact lens which could enable the visually impaired to see the world in a whole new light. Developed by Professor Zeev Zalevsky, the contact lens processes digital images and translates them into tactile sensations which can then be felt on the user's cornea, allowing them to form a picture of their physical surroundings.  Read More

Measurements from Hubble images are into translated into designs that are then 3D printed

Scientists have used 3D printing technology to transform images taken from the Hubble Space Telescope into tactile "pictures" for the blind. Astronomers Carol Christian and Antonella Nota of the Space Telescope Science Institute are experimenting with 3D models as a means of aiding education for people who cannot study visual images.  Read More

Software controllers go modular

Described by its creators as the first freeform software controller, Palette is a range of buttons, dials and sliders made so that creative types can design their own hardware interfaces for their software of choice, be it for music creation, photo-editing or gaming.  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

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