Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Tactile

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

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

Watchmaker Eone's debut timepiece, the Bradley, is aimed at the visually impaired and indi...

Unfortunately, there aren't many options available for the visually impaired when it comes to timepieces. While a number of talking watches and braille wristwatches with removable covers are already on the market, those often draw attention to a person's disability. That's why watchmaker Eone's debut timepiece, the Bradley, indicates the time with magnetic ball bearings that can be read subtly by touch.  Read More

ProDot is an adhesive silicone dot which attaches to the shutter-button of your camera, an...

Can a little silicone dot which attaches over your camera's shutter button really help you take better photos? That's the claim from the makers of the ProDot, a tactile shutter release button which is currently doing the rounds on Kickstarter, and it appears many photographers think it could live up to the promise … because it sailed past its funding target in a matter of days.  Read More

Disney's REVEL system applying virtual textures to  different areas of a teapot (Photo: Di...

Having long been successful with "talkies," Disney has developed technology that could allow the creation of "feelies." While designed more for touchscreens than the silver screen, the REVEL system developed at Disney Research uses reverse electrovibration to bring computerized control over the sense of touch, thereby allowing programmers to change the feel of real-world surfaces and objects without requiring users to wear special gloves or use force-feedback devices.  Read More

The BioTac sensor can correctly identify a randomly selected material from a a sample of 1...

We’ve seen the development of a number of technologies that could be used to provide robots with a sense of touch, such as proximity and temperature sensing hexagonal plates and artificial skin constructed from semiconductor nanowires. However, perhaps none are as impressive as a tactile sensor developed by researchers at the University of California’s Viterbi School of Engineering. The group’s BioTac sensor was built to mimic a human fingertip and can outperform humans in identifying a wide range of materials, offering potential use for the technology in robotics and prostheses.  Read More

Startup Tactus Technology has developed a touchscreen display with buttons that can rise o...

California startup Tactus Technology recently caused plenty of "oohs" and "aahs" at SID Display Week 2012. The prototype touchscreen the company presented featured buttons that can rise out of the flat surface of the screen at the user's whim, disappearing completely once they are no longer needed.  Read More

Senseg's technology would allow you to feel textures on a tablet's screen

What if you could feel what's on your television screen? Tech company Senseg is working on a way for you to someday be able to do just that, and recently demonstrated a prototype tablet that is already able to make that magic happen.  Read More

TouchFire is a transparent, silicone screen top keyboard for the iPad's virtual keyboard, ...

For touch-typists like myself, tablets such as the iPad present a bit of a problem. I still need a little more tactile feedback to my fingertips than the virtual keyboard can offer, if I'm going to speed through my messages without making errors. When veteran computer designer Steve Isaac was left similarly wanting, he decided to get creative. Along with Seattle product designer and mechanical engineer Brad Melmon, Isaac has designed a transparent, flexible faux keyboard that lays on top of the iPad's virtual keyboard to give users the familiar feel of notebook-like raised keys.  Read More

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