Ultrahaptics Adds Tactile Sensations to Virtual 3D
Oculus’ Rift will let you wander through amazing, immersive, virtual 3D worlds.Google’s Project Tango will help you create a virtual 3D version of your real world. Their limit? Neither of them will ever give you any indication as to the material qualities of the digital objects you interact with. This is whereUltrahaptics comes in, with its Tactile Sensation Haptic Kit.
By the way, in case you were wondering, but never looked it up, “haptic” means any form of communication involving touch. In the case of Ultrahaptics, though, you will not be touching anything… real. What you will be touching are virtual objects that will give you a tactile feedback without needing to wear anything or actually touch any surface.
The technology developed by Ultrahaptics uses ultrasound to project sensations through the air and directly onto the user. Users can ‘feel’ touch-less buttons, get feedback for mid-air gestures, or interact with virtual objects. The company was founded in 2013 based on technology originally developed at the University of Bristol, UK. It secured Seed Funding in 2014 to allow for the further development of the technology and the expansion of the engineering team. Ultrahaptics is currently engaged with tier 1 customers, from multiple markets, with their recently launched Evaluation Program.
At CES, Ultrahaptics hosted customers, partners, press and analysts in a private Demo Showcase Suite, where they invited guests to learn more about how to add mid-air haptics to their consumer products. As far as 3D printing goes, the implications are clearest for the use of Ultrahaptics as a device for improved and more intuitive 3D modeling of virtual prototypes, before sending them to the printer for final manufacturing. Yet another addition to the range of products that, along with HP Sprout, Oculus Rift and Google Project Tango, are helping to make the boundaries between virtual and physical 3D thinner than ever.