Ultrahaptic Prototype Lets You Feel Gesture Controls In Mid-Air

Thursday, October 17, 2013

 Computer Interfaces
Prototype 'ultrahaptic' technology developed at the University of Bristol allows users to feel when they control their computers with mid-air hand movements.

Researchers at the University of Bristol have demonstrated a mid-air tactile feedback prototype system that allows people to interact with computer interfaces by touching invisible fields in the air above them while performing gestures.

UltraHaptics allows people interacting with a screen to feel what is displayed and also receive invisible information before touching it.

The technology works through the use of acoustic radiation force, projected through ultrasonic transducers. These emit very high frequency sound waves which when they meet mid-air, create a sensation on a person's skin.

UltraHaptic interface prototype

By combining several waves, the researchers were able to create multiple points of tactile feedback with different properties that can be distinguished by users.

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One of the researchers working on the UltraHaptics project, PhD student Tom Carter, said current multi-touch systems with integrated interactive surfaces allow users to use them with their bare hands, but people cannot feel what is on the screen.

The researchers aimed to build in haptic feedback into existing interactive surfaces without sacrificing their ease of use and accessibility.

"To achieve this, we have designed a system with an ultrasound transducer array positioned beneath an acoustically transparent display," Carter said.  The team also used a Leap Motion sensor to capture the user's hand motions and position.

"This arrangement allows the projection of focused ultrasound through the interactive surface and directly onto the users' bare hands. By creating multiple simultaneous feedback points, and giving them individual tactile properties, users can receive localized feedback associated to their actions."

SOURCE  The Guardian

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