Reach out and touch it…

Published 03 September 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

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Researchers at the University of Tokyo have unveiled their latest haptics prototype that allows it’s user to ‘touch’ objects on the screen using ultrasonic technology.

By setting up an array of ultrasonic transducers that emit sound waves that create a ‘solid’ object where the wave interfere with each other. It is hoped that this technology will become commercially available for 3D designers and gamers after the team were approached about the technology by several industrial companies last month.

Currently there is only scope for resistance in one direction, and there are underlying fears that the ultrasound used could scatter, causing damage to nearby eardrums. However, work is underway to combat the possible deafness, while increased power and direction should bring more ‘feel’ and ‘stiffness’ to geometry, and raises questions over its compatibility with hologram technology.

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