Touchable Hologram Becomes Reality (w/ Video)

August 6, 2009 by Lisa Zyga, weblog

In this demonstration of the touchable hologram, ultrasound is radiated from above and the user feels as if a rain drop hits his palm. Credit: Hiroyuki Shinoda.
( -- Researchers from the University of Tokyo have developed 3D holograms that can be touched with bare hands. Generally, holograms can't be felt because they're made only of light. But the new technology adds tactile feedback to holograms hovering in 3D space.

Called the Airborne Ultrasound Tactile Display, the projector uses an ultrasound phenomenon called acoustic radiation pressure to create a pressure sensation on a user's hands, which are tracked with two Nintendo Wiimotes. As the researchers explain, the method doesn't use any direct contact and so doesn't dilute the quality of the hologram. The researchers, led by Hiroyuki Shinoda, currently have the technology on display at SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans.

"A retroreflective marker is attached on the tip of user's middle finger," the researchers explain on their website. "IR LEDs illuminate the marker and two Wiimotes sense the 3D position of the finger. Owing to this hand-tracking system, the users can handle the floating virtual image with their hands."

In the video, the researchers demonstrate how a user can dribble a virtual bouncing ball, feel virtual raindrops bouncing off their hand, and feel a small virtual creature crawling on their palm. The researchers hope that the technology will have applications in video games, 3D CADs, and other uses.

More information: Shinoda Lab

© 2009

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5 / 5 (4) Aug 06, 2009
Wave mechanics, for the win.
4.5 / 5 (8) Aug 06, 2009
Please let me know when 'they' can combine this with the most outrageous porn. It will make an absolute fortune, akin to the GDP of most developing nations.
5 / 5 (3) Aug 06, 2009
I'm ready to fight Bruce Lee. Or a Klingon Bruce Lee.
4 / 5 (4) Aug 06, 2009
290163- HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Soo sad but true.
5 / 5 (4) Aug 06, 2009
Checklist to Hollow-deck nirvana:

1) Holographic Tactile Response System - Check
2) Fusion power source - In Progress
3) Quantum Computing - In Progress


1 down, 2 to go...

3.5 / 5 (2) Aug 07, 2009
Yes, Finally they can apply this to a Video Game.

1.Get your HoloGram 3000 Gun.
2.Put on your Ultra Z80-9 Body Armour on.
3.Start shooting 3D hologram projectiles at people through there tvs And they could feel the shot :D.

Wait i just remembered Reality beat us to it :(
5 / 5 (4) Aug 07, 2009
Yes, Finally they can apply this to a Video Game.

1.Get your HoloGram 3000 Gun.

2.Put on your Ultra Z80-9 Body Armour on.

3.Start shooting 3D hologram projectiles at people through there tvs And they could feel the shot :D.

Wait i just remembered Reality beat us to it :(

Speaking of games.. its really funny that the game industry is driving innovation in this manner. wow. up until now the general public would get trickle-down technology from the army/airforce/NASA... but now it looks like things might be going the other way?

2.8 / 5 (5) Aug 07, 2009
Disappointing, really.
First thing, the hologram itself is a very poor implementation. A concave mirror is able to fool multiple observers about the location of the image, but the image will still be basically flat, with no perspective and displayed at a fixed depth. With some eye tracking i guess they can make this quite more realistic but only to a single viewer.
Also, it is impossible to put your hand or anything else behind the displayed objects without making them disappear, which really ruins the illusion, and will be happening a lot when you try to touch them.
And last, about the actual innovation in this case - the ultrasound panel that creates the tactile feedback - I think it is really interesting, but obviously not as versatile as the title implies. It will probably never be the same as feeling a real object.
5 / 5 (1) Aug 07, 2009
A lot of testing required to see the affects of sudden ultrasound waves on the human body in games.

The desired game effect would be for the player to feel an impact when hit by a virtual projectile, or a shockwave from an virtual explosion, but the ultrasound waves could do just as much damage as the real thing if they connect with weak human tissues.

After all the trouble with flashing screens for epileptics, we don't want another round of bad press for game developers. We also need good monitoring of how this additional sensory dimension to game play effects the attention/addiction levels.

Outside of games ... a new world of digital knowledge opens up when you consider closing your eyes and running your hands over the face of the The Sphinx, walk your fingers through a 3D map of the Amazon Basin, shake hands with somebody to conclude business in a Video Conference.

Yes ... other pleasures may become possible, legal and even morally acceptable so long as they are properly tested before being made widely available.

Incredible possibilities, and yes, even the holodeck seems less distant than it was ... but a lot of work, testing and funding before you will find one available at the local mall.

Plus we have to make it solar, wind or water mill powered! ;-)
2 / 5 (4) Aug 07, 2009
visual: I got some news for you. Progress is a process. Shut your ass up and watch it unfold.
1 / 5 (4) Aug 07, 2009
ealex, you call the atomic bomb progress? Anthrax? Computer viruses? You'll just allow and accept anything so long as you can maintain your simple quasi-religious world view that it's "progress"?
4 / 5 (1) Aug 07, 2009
Disappointing, really.
... I think it is really interesting, but obviously not as versatile as the title implies. It will probably never be the same as feeling a real object.

I think you're wrong. The brain adapts and I think you'll 'get used' to using such a device. The difference between NO mechanical feedback and SOME mechanical feedback, is infinitely large to a brain.

Have an iPhone-like device in your pocket, with flat 2D screen, but with head- and hand-tracking, plus the ultrasound thingy magingy, you got yourself a revolution. And it'll take, what, 2 years to make a working prototype?

not rated yet Aug 07, 2009
The fact that it uses focused air compression makes this PERFECT for porn.

re: the video - did they have to bring "small creatures" into it? Hahahaha!
not rated yet Aug 11, 2009
When it gets to be affordable for schools it will become a great idea for teaching. "Hands on" experience without breakage or actual devices (think repair of automotive, aircraft or any engine, robotics, medical devices, defusing bombs and so on). Tactile sensations will add a new dimension to photographs, models and written text. Textbooks could become demonstrators of physical concepts as well as informing through the classical written word and illustrations. So many venues are available for this new technology. Lets hope it is safe as one reader questioned and someday cheaply available. Perhaps this may make technology, science education and research attractive to our currently disinterested youths. Hopefully a dynamic teaching tool such as this can be used to attract greater enrollment in science programs.
5 / 5 (1) Aug 11, 2009
Next Step... The Holideck !
not rated yet Sep 02, 2009
Absolutely awesome! I love it :)

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