New virtual reality interface enables “touch” across long distances

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Lightweight, flexible patch conveys a tactile sensation directly to the skin

Adding a sense of touch can make virtual reality experiences feel more real.

A woman sits at a computer, video chatting with her young son while she gently pats an interface on a separate screen. In response, a wireless patch on the child’s back vibrates in a pattern that matches his mother’s fingers, allowing him to “feel” her physical touch.

The new patch is a type of haptic device, a technology that remotely conveys tactile signals. A common example is video game controllers that vibrate when the player’s avatar takes a hit. Some researchers think more advanced, wearable versions of such interfaces will become a vital part of making virtual and augmented reality experiences feel like they are actually happening. “If you take a look at what exists today in VR and AR, it consists primarily of auditory and visual channels as the main basis for the sensory experience,” says John A. Rogers, a physical chemist and material scientist at Northwestern University, whose team helped develop the new haptic patch. “But we think that the skin itself—the sense of touch—could qualitatively add to your experience that you could achieve with VR, beyond anything that’s possible with audio and video.”

Scientists, technology companies and do-it-yourself-ers have experimented with wearable haptic devices, often vests or gloves equipped with vibrating motors. But many of these require heavy battery packs connected by a mess of wires. Because of their weight, most have to be attached loosely to the body instead of adhering securely to the skin. So, Rogers and his colleagues developed a vibrating disk, only a couple millimeters thick, that can run with very little energy. These actuators (a term for devices that give a system physical motion) need so little energy that they can be powered by near-field communication—a wireless method of transferring small amounts of power, typically used for applications like unlocking a door with an ID card.

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Breakthrough prosthetic hand restores amputee’s sense of touch

Dennis Sørensen smiles confidently with his new robotic hand as he flexes his robotic fingers, and gingerly closes them around a disposable plastic cup. Sørensen is blindfolded but he instantly recognizes what he is touching. Round. Hard. Breakable. Lethargic sensory nerves, rusty and unused since an accident nine years ago, begin to stir.

 

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New Pressure-Sensitive Electronic Skin Will Give Robots the Sense of Touch

robot sense of touch

Touch was thought to be the most difficult sense to replicate.

Robotics has made tremendous strides in replicating the senses of sight and sound, but smell and taste are still lagging behind, and touch was thought to be the most difficult of them all…until new pressure-sensitive electronic skin came along.

 

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Future of Computer Interface Will Revolve Around Touch

Future of Computer Interface Will Revolve Around Touch 

 Nano-Touch

Earlier this week, the humble computer mouse celebrated its 40th birthday. While surprisingly little has changed since Doug Engelbart, an engineer at Stanford Research Institute, in Palo Alto, CA, first demonstrated the mouse to a skeptical crowd in San Francisco, we may have already seen a few glimpses of the future of computer interfaces. If so, over the next few years, the future of the computer interface will likely revolve around touch.

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Tactile Watch For the Blind

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Feel the Time.

The Sentio is a digital tactile watch for the blind designed by Matthew Wagerfield. The watch has segments that rise 1 mm from the surface of the watch to signify the hour and minute.

The face of sentio exhibits a pair of 7-segment displays that would normally be found on digital alarm clocks, watches or any other digital numerical display. This pair of 7-segment displays outputs either minutes or hours depending on the mode that it is dynamically set to.

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Software That Gives A Sense Of Touch In The Virtual Environment

Software That Gives A Sense Of Touch In The Virtual Environment 

Being a human, you feel; so do I. However, software can also feel! Surprised, one might be. But this is a reality, as an Edinburgh-based company has just launched an incredible software technology by the name of Cre8. Now, what is implausible about this is that it has an interactive interface, which means the creators, designers or artists interact and even can manipulate the content in a virtual 3D workspace using the sense of touch technology.

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Hand Transplant Patient Shows Signs Of Sensory Recovery

Hand Transplant Patient Shows Signs Of Sensory Recovery 

Activation of the left cerebral hemisphere during sensory stimulation of the transplanted right palm.  

Four months after a successful hand transplant — 35 years after amputation in an industrial accident at age 19 — a 54-year-old man’s emerging sense of touch is registered in the former “hand area” of the his brain, says a University of Oregon neuroscientist.

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