You know that vibration you get on certain touch screen tablets and smartphones? Its called haptic technology. It allows the user to feel the environment projected on to the screen of the phone or tablet. Some apps for passing the time have taken advantage of this technology like one iPhone app called Volt that simulates a lightning bolt on screen when you touch it and gives you a mild jolt simultaneously. To some it feels good, to some it feels irksome and they shut the vibration off in the settings app. The former lot are in for a treat as Fujitsu Labs, the famous research and development company in Japan are taking haptic touch to the next level.
Imagine you’re looking up information on silk or a crocodile. Imagine that you’ve never felt silk or stroked a crocodile before (the latter must be very few). Now haptic touch is being developed that will allow one to feel the exact texture and hardness of the object they are looking up.
It works by virtue of tiny ultrasonic vibrations occurring when the finger tip is near the touch screen. These vibrations either reduce or increase the friction between the screen and the finger tip (by creating a high pressure layer of air between the finger tip and screen) leading to a smooth or rough feeling, respectively.
Imagine being able to feel the smoothness of silk or the roughness of sand at your finger tips while sitting in your home with no real sand or silk in sight. This will provide a whole new dimension to the virtual experience and help bridge the gap between the real and virtual experience.