Haptic feedback enters the third dimension

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Haptic feedback, such as the slightvibration imparted to the finger by a touchscreen phone, is definitely betterthan no feedback in the absence of real buttons, but there are ways it could beimproved.

One such method being investigatedby researchers in Korea andthe USinvolves creating a flexible haptic surface that can provide feedback to morethan just a fingertip.

Whole-skin stimulation

Working together, the team from Sungkyunkwan Universityin South Korea and the University of Nevada has built what it calls aflexible tactile display.

The group’s Ig Mo Koo explains: "Whenyou apply a normal device to a non-flat surface like human skin, it isimpossible to stimulate the whole skin through its shape. In the case of awearable tactile display, however, it can be applicable to many kinds ofsurfaces without the limitation of stimulus area because of its flexibility."

Remote possibility

In operation, electrical charges generatedby whatever the input device may be cause film in the device to contract in onespecific spot, thus putting pressure on the part of the body touching there.

The researchers believe it’s soaccurate it could work as an electronic Braille readout for blind users or as asurgical tool for remote operations.

We can think of plenty ofother applications for a ‘feely-phone’ but let’s leave those to ourimaginations for now, shall we?



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