Ultrasonic haptic feedback could make virtual reality touchable

Rendering Volumetric Haptic Shapes in Mid-Air using Ultrasound
Date:3 December 2014 Tags:, , ,

A research team from the University of Bristol has developed a method whereby haptic technology is used to create realistic-looking objects from ultrasound.

This approach uses acoustic force to affect skin in a way that can actually be felt like touch. By using radiating sound in this way, there’s no need for the target person to use any devices or technological enhancements to perceive the physical sensation. Provided the sound waves are generated in the correct angle to the target person, it becomes possible to actually sense the “shape” of the sound coming at them.

The team says: “We modulate the ultrasound so that it is perceived as a vibration on the skin. Changing the modulation frequency or pulsing the feedback gives different textures. By giving each feedback point a different modulation frequency, we can have different feedback, with different textures applied to the user at the same time.”

Arguably the best-known application of haptic technology was by Japanese technology manufacturer, Fujitsu, for their ultrasonic tablet earlier this year. The ultrasonic inducers inside the tablet allowed the high-pressure layer of air between the users finger and the surface of the tablet to create the effect of textured surfaces.

How volumetric haptic shapes are rendered is explained in the video above.

Click here to read more about the project.

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