There is a group of researchers at Disney that is working to give you a tactile experience while playing hands free game systems such as the Xbox Kinect. In other words, you’d be able to touch things out of thin air thanks to a device they are working on. They call this device, Aireal, and that is pretty much what it does — let you feel objects out of thin air. It is an interactive device that gives you tactile experiences even though an object is not in front of you.
So how does Aireal work? The device blows small rings of air at you. This simulates touch. It also simulates movement or collision with an object. Of course, it is more complicated than that, but that is essentially how the device operates.
The same group of researchers at Disney are also trying to design a device that will allow you to feel texture on your touchscreen device. The idea is to make these interfaces even more user and user friendly.
Disney is not the only group working on this touch out of thin air project. At the University of Bristol in England, students are working on their own version. UltraHaptics is said to give you the same tactile experience as Aireal will except it uses a different method. Instead of pulses of air the device uses ultrasound vibrations.
There are a few other projects, notably, the Woojer that is working on making hands free games more tactile. The Woojer uses sound to create the feeling. The sound is low frequency vibrations and is comparable to standing in front of a speaker at a rock concert.
Which one of these devices will be the most successful is still up in the air. (See what I did there?) But being able to feel your games, and items on your touch screen, seems to be in arm’s length.
[via CNN Tech]