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Haptics Brings a Personal Touch to Technology


keyboard on touch screen display

Researchers are working to create new touch screens with tactile feedback.

Credit: Patrick Lin / AFP / Getty Images

Of all the senses, touch as been somewhat neglected as a human means of interacting with machines. Haptics—which could lead to people interacting with virtual objects using a sense of touch or feel—means to change all that. Labs around the world are now racing to close the gap while the first commercial applications are hitting the market.

For the first time people will be actually be able to have a virtual feel of some of the images that are placed before them. "The basic goal of the technology . . . is to create a perception of texture—to let people 'feel' objects on screen by stroking them with their fingers," says Ivan Poupyrev, a senior researcher at Disney Research Labs in Pittsburgh, PA, and a leading advocate of haptics. Poupyrev claims this area is going to be "huge," particularly for handheld devices.

Haptics can recreate the feeling of paper or a textile, simulate the smoothness of glass and even the roughness of sand paper.

From BBC News
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