According to the BBC, Professor Takayuki Iwamoto and his team of researchers have invented a system that harnesses the power of ultrasonic waves to create touchable virtual objects out of thin air. The system's concept was drawn from the field of haptics, which studies ways to integrate computing power and our sense of touch.
The system focuses the pressure of sound waves into mid-air shapes that users can actually feel with their bare hands using an array of ultrasonic transducers and a camera that tracks hand position that in the past, feeling such sensations required using specially-designed gloves or other mechanical devices. According to the haptic researcher Stephen Brewster, you can actually feel the virtual object with both hands, rather than having just a single point of contact, and another great thing about this system is that, multiple people can actually use it at the same time! "The kinds of things we use are connected through mechanical arms or you're wearing some kind of exoskeleton. It's great to have something that you can just walk up and use and not need any other kind of hardware you have to hold or wear," Brewster said. Cool!
As an update, the researchers of this new tech of ultrasound manipulation are currently receiving several proposals from industrial companies interested in exploring the technology!
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