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Tactile

Surround Haptics enhances video game play by using an array of vibrating actuators in a ch...

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

Georgia Tech applied physiology associate professor Minoru Shinohara conducts a single-poi...

Studies have shown that with the right amount of white noise in the background, peoples’ sight, hearing, balance control and sense of touch improve. Utilizing stochastic resonance, which is the principle at work in white noise, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered that the sense of touch can also be improved by applying vibrations to a person’s finger. They have been testing a glove that incorporates a prototype fingertip-buzzing device, that could ultimately lead to products worn by people with nerve damage, or whose jobs require exceptional manual dexterity.  Read More

The Sofie force-feedback surgical robot  (Photo: Bart van Overbeeke)

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

University of Utah psychology doctoral student, Nate Medeiros-Ward, operates a driving sim...

In-car navigation systems that literally tell drivers where to go are much more convenient and safer than resting a street directory on one’s lap and quickly trying to devise a route on a map at a set of traffic lights. But audio instructions may not always be the best way to impart directional information to hard of hearing drivers or those yakking on a mobile phone – with a hands-free kit I should hope. A new study suggests that devices mounted to a steering wheel that pull the driver’s index fingertips left or right could help motorists drive more safely. The same technology could also be attached to a cane to provide directional cues to blind pedestrians.  Read More

Researchers from Yale's School of Engineering have installed some teeny motors inside a dr...

Today's automobiles are jam-packed with numerous sensors and warning systems to help drivers stay safe. Much of the feedback from such systems is provided visually, but there's so much going on that drivers may well be approaching overload. Researchers from Yale's School of Engineering have opted for a different mode of physical stimulus by installing tiny vibrating motors inside a driver's seat to advise of the approach of other vehicles.  Read More

The Suma mouse prototype captures input from wherever the user's hand touches the 'skin' a...

Cambridge Consultants has unveiled the next phase in the development of its Suma sensor technology, which transforms user touch on its surface into an individual action on a computer or gaming device. The wireless Suma mouse prototype opens up a multitude of three dimensional navigation possibilities by taking every squeeze, stroke or swipe of a user's touch and translating it into an onscreen reaction such as a pan, tilt or zoom.  Read More

Earthquake tactile transducers deliver a lot of bang for your buck to enhance your movie-w...

For home theater enthusiasts or gamers who enjoy the deep thud of a good subwoofer but want a little more “jolt” without the extra noise, Earthquake Sound Corp. has added to its range of tactile transducers with the Q10B and MQB-1 that, when fitted to a theater chair or platform, can virtually loosen your fillings. Along with visualizing and hearing, low frequency sound adds a third sense which brings people further into the realm of virtual reality of movies and games.  Read More

Sense wirelessly connects with a computer and will give users a sensory representation of ...

The Sense concept designed by CD&I Associates is a wireless device that will, it's claimed, offer a "more emotional connection between users and experiences" through touch and smell. It aims to give users haptic, thermal and olfactory sensations while playing games, watching movies and shopping online via a tactile hand sheath and flavor-ink printed output.  Read More

Touch&Turn cooking system remains cool to the touch and has a user-friendly control panel

Whilst cooking is not exactly a risk-taking activity, the kitchen is not without its hazards - think open flames, red-hot pan handles and spluttering stews. So imagine how difficult preparing and cooking a meal might be for the blind and visually-impaired. A new cooking concept could provide a solution - the Touch&Turn is a cool-to-the-touch cooking pot that sits on a simple, user-friendly control panel and is designed to make cooking an easier and safer experience.  Read More

The SmartHand and its first human subject, Robin af Ekenstam

Scientists have successfully wired a state-of-the-art artificial hand to existing nerve endings in the stump of a severed arm. Its creators say the device, called “SmartHand,” resembles a real hand in function, sensitivity and appearance. In order to develop such an intelligent artificial prosthetic hand with all the basic features displayed by a real one, the SmartHand team integrated recent advances in nanobioscience, cognitive neuroscience and information technologies.  Read More

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