Friday, 5 September 2008

Ultrasound to give feel to games

The power of ultrasonic waves has been harnessed to produce "virtual" objects in mid-air.
The field of haptics - integrating computing and the sense of touch - has been around for some time but has required gloves or mechanical devices to impart a sense of feeling.
Now, a team of Japanese researchers has developed a system that uses focused ultrasound to do the job. They have demonstrated a simple haptic device that employs a number of ultrasonic transducers, which emit ultrasound.

The team's prototype system includes a camera which tracks the position of a user's hand and shifts the output from the transducers to move the focus around with the hand. The result is a feeling of tracing the edge or surface of the virtual object. At the moment, the system provides a small force only in the vertical dimension, but the team is improving the geometry of the array and the amount of power it can produce so that future devices will provide a stiffer feel and more contoured objects. Source