Friday, 12 August 2011

Hap what?? Haptic

From Senseq website

Many people today have a touch phone or some kind of tablet device.  Personally I thought that it could not get better than touching a screen to draw or make fart noises.  However, there just might be some new technology on the horizon that introduces this on August 15th by the name of Tabco.   They are introducing a tablet that 'provides a new way to interact with your device,' as a Tabco spokesperson said.  That got me thinking about whether technology could introduce something that can give you the sensation of touch.  Like most things I think of they are already working on these.  This technology is called Haptic and is being researched at Aalto University in conjunction with another Finnish company called Senseg

The Haptic technology that they develop is based on the principle of attraction force between charges to create the sense of touch.  Using an low electrical current to an insulated electrode you can make small attractive Coulomb force from to the fingertip or probably any other place on the body.  Then these charges can be modulated to make different sensations. 

Senseg, reckons that one day when we online shop we'll be able to "feel" the fabrics we're looking at.  Haptic sensations could also allow you to feel the surface tension of water in a pond a million miles away or get a feeling of the mucous of  the ebola patient two meters away in a bubble without having to feel it.  This technology would be amazing for allowing people to feel things without ever being in the room.  It could help people that are blind.  It could be used to develop new video games. 

There are many possibilities that could be used with this technology.  However, probably still much development is underway as this recent paper states 'various haptic sensations such as feeling of surface tension and friction, as well as solid object viscosity and  force fields, can only be provided separately and often at predefined, known to the haptic algorithm, locations of the  haptic tools, while concurrent haptic rendering of these phenomena at any random location of the haptic tool is still a challenge.´  Tabco and anybody developing programs for this new unchartered technology to use good design thinking before making something that is cool but not really useful to anyone.