Researchers use ultrasound to "feel" virtual objects

By on September 3, 2008, 4:16 PM
Force feedback, motion sensing and surround sound systems – of course, along with a solid story – all add up to delivering a more realistic and immersive gameplay experience. But now a team of Japanese researchers is looking to take it to a whole new level, by using ultrasound waves to simulate the feel of objects that aren’t there.

By using ultrasonic transducers that emit interfering sound waves to a focal point, a virtual object can be perceived by touch, they claim. The technology is still in its early stages, so only a limited amount of physical characteristics can be mimicked at this point, while researchers attempt to harness the technology without risking the potential ear damage that may come with it. If tests go well, however, the team reckons they'll be able to start replicating other textures and shapes.

Researchers say they are looking to commercialize the technology for possible use in gaming and design applications as soon as possible – which almost certainly means it is still many years away.




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