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Tactile


— Electronics

Disney's Aireal delivers precise tactile feedback out of thin air

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
— Wearable Electronics

On the ball: Eone debuts a tactile watch for the visually impaired

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
— Digital Cameras

ProDot makes your camera's shutter button more tactile

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
— Virtual Reality

Disney Research's gloveless REVEL system adds virtual textures to physical objects

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
— Robotics

Tactile robot finger outperforms humans in identifying textures

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
— Mobile Technology

Touch typing for the iPad with the TouchFire screen-top 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
— Mobile Technology

Student-made tablet app may make dedicated Braille writers obsolete

Undergraduate student, Adam Duran, made excellent use of his time at Stanford University, where he attended a two-month summer course organized by the Army High-Performance Computing Research Center (AHPCRC). Together with his mentors, Adrian Lew and Sohan Dharmaraja, he created a potentially game changing application that should make the lives of visually impaired people both easier and less expensive. The application turns a tablet into a Braille writer and thus saves the blind from having to purchase a device that may cost up to ten times more than a tablet. Read More
— Science

Brain implant lets monkeys control virtual hand and feel virtual objects

In a development that could have huge implications for quadriplegics, paraplegics and those with prosthetic limbs, researchers from Duke University and the Ecole Polytechnic Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) have developed technology that has allowed monkeys to control a virtual arm and touch and feel virtual objects using only their brain activity. The researchers say it is the first-ever demonstration of a two-way interaction between a primate brain and a virtual body and could lead to robotic exoskeletons that not only that allows paralyzed patients to walk again, but to also feel the ground beneath them. Read More
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