UltraHaptics—it's magic in the air (w/ Video)

Oct 07, 2013
An array of ultrasound transducers is mounted to the back of the TV, providing feedback onto the user's hands.

A system that allows users to experience multi-point haptic feedback above an interactive surface without having to touch or hold any device will be unveiled this week [Friday 11 October] at one of the world's most important conferences for innovations in human-computer interfaces.

Multi-touch surfaces offer easy interaction in public spaces, with people being able to walk-up and use them. However, people cannot feel what they have touched. A team from the University of Bristol's Interaction and Graphics (BIG) research group have developed a solution that not only allows people to feel what is on the screen, but also receive invisible information before they touch it.

The research paper, to be presented at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) 2013 by Tom Carter from the Department of Computer Science, will unveil UltraHaptics, a system designed to provide multipoint, mid-air haptic above a touch surface.

UltraHaptics uses the principle of acoustic radiation force where a phased array of is used to exert forces on a target in mid-air. Haptic sensations are projected through a screen and directly onto the user's hands.

The use of ultrasonic vibrations is a new technique for delivering tactile sensations to the user. A series of ultrasonic transducers emit very high frequency sound waves. When all of the sound waves meet at the same location at the same time, they create sensations on a human's skin.

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By carrying out technical evaluations, the team have shown that the system is capable of creating individual points of feedback that are far beyond the perception threshold of the human hand. The researchers have also established the necessary properties of a display surface that is transparent to 40kHz ultrasound.

The results from two user studies have demonstrated that feedback points with different tactile properties can be distinguished at smaller separations. The researchers also found that users are able to identify different tactile properties with training.

Finally, the research team explored three new areas of interaction possibilities that UltraHaptics can provide: mid-air gestures, tactile information layers and visually restricted displays, and created an application for each.

Tom Carter, PhD student in the Department of Computer Science's BIG research group, said: "Current systems with integrated interactive surfaces allow users to walk-up and use them with bare hands. Our goal was to integrate into these systems without sacrificing their simplicity and accessibility.

"To achieve this, we have designed a system with an ultrasound transducer array positioned beneath an acoustically transparent display. 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 localised feedback associated to their actions."

Explore further: New potential for touch screens found at your fingertips

More information: big.cs.bris.ac.uk/projects/ultrahaptics

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User comments : 5

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beleg
1 / 5 (1) Oct 07, 2013
Yes.
Samsung galaxy S3 mobile users' air gestures will have little adaptation problems to the 'feel' of this air gesture extension feature.
jalmy
1.7 / 5 (12) Oct 07, 2013
This is bad-ass. I wonder if this tech progresses far enough, could it make virtual enemies able to be hit and hit back? I'm curious as to how much force can actually be produced with this? Can it move objects? Can it move air? Fascinating stuff..
jwilcos
not rated yet Oct 07, 2013
Great. ought to be very useful for visually impaired people.
umughal147
not rated yet Nov 07, 2013
Ultrahaptic technology is becoming popular all over the world. People are waiting for the new touch system, which could work in the air. This is in fact the future of touch system, which has been showed in the Iron Man Movie. If you love this new technology / invention in the field of touch system, you can see the proceedings at: http://www.funben...nd-waves
VendicarE
not rated yet Nov 07, 2013
Oh man, this has spectacular failure written all over it.

Pure Idiocy.