[AI] Haptrics Brings A Personal Touch To Technology

shahnaz shycurrim at yahoo.co.in
Tue Jul 6 05:29:56 EDT 2010

Haptics brings a personal touch to technology
Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Monday, 5 July 2010 12:04 UK
By Michael Fitzpatrick
Tokyo, Japan
Touch Screen
Touch screen has proved popular - but how about a computer that touches back?
When Aldous Huxley described the 'Feelies' of his 1930s satire Brave 
New World he
envisaged a world in which touch would be exploited by the technology 
of the future
as much as vision. How wrong he was.
Of all the senses, touch as been somewhat neglected as a human means 
of interacting
with machines.
Haptics - which could lead to people interacting with virtual objects 
using a sense
of touch or feel - means to change all that. Labs around the world 
are now racing
to close the gap while the first commercial applications are hitting 
the market.
For the first time people will be actually be able to have a virtual 
feel of some
of the images that are placed before them.
Keeping in touch
A leading advocate of haptics is Russian scientist Doctor Ivan 
Poupyrev, now a senior
researcher at Disney Research Labs in Pittsburgh. He claims this area 
is going to
be "huge", particularly for hand held devices.
"We don't do enough with touch," said Dr Poupyrev.
"The basic goal of the technology we are developing at Disney is to 
create a perception
of texture - to let people 'feel' objects on screen by stroking them 
with their fingers.
"We do this by applying a high voltage to a transparent electrode on 
the glass plate
- in this case people will feel a texture on the glass. By varying 
the frequency
and amplitude of the signal we can create different sensations."
Continue reading the main story
Flexibility should take a further step and let people feel them, 
stretch them, bend
them and have them react to these interactions
Dr Ivan Poupyrev
Disney Research
The results can recreate the feeling of paper or a textile, simulate 
the smoothness
of glass and even the roughness of sand paper.
This work follows on from Dr Poupyrev's earlier research at the Sony 
labs in Tokyo.
The scientist and his team came up with a prototype touch screen for 
a mobile phone
that added a sense of touch in the form of tactile feedback.
"With devices getting smaller and increasingly mobile, I thought it 
was time we exploited
our sense of touch," he said.
"For a start we wanted to create what had never been achieved before 
- a touch screen
that really responded back when you touched it."
Dubbed "TouchEngine", tactile feedback is achieved using tiny 
bendable strips of
crystals known as actuators placed under a thin LCD screen that 
pulsate slightly
when the screen is touched.
It eventually led to a touch panel that generates tactile feedback 
and also detects
the amount of pressure applied to the panel.
If, for example, someone were to apply more pressure to the screen 
displaying an
icon the speed of switching between icons would intensify.
Bendable tech
However, being able to feel feedback though the fingertips from a 
hand-held screen
was just the start.
Ivan Poupyrev also teamed up with designers Carsten Schwesig and 
Eijiro Mori to develop
a bendable credit-card-sized device nicknamed Gummi. The card is 
activated by the
bending motion.
The prototype Gummi uses bendable organic light-emitting display 
(OLED) technology.
Sony claims to have created the world's most flexible OLED so far - 
so thin and flexible
that the colour display can be rolled around a pencil while streaming video.
Gummi mock up
Maps or photo albums could be made from the bendable media cards
Flexible electronic paper is already on the market in the form of e-readers.
LG Display plans to launch mass-production of an 11.5-inch (29cm) 
flexible e-paper
display "in the near future". The market for more paper-like displays 
will be substantial
according to market researcher DisplaySearch.
Combining haptics with these bendable electronics could give rise to 
a whole new
generation of flexible devices, said Dr Poupyrev.
"[E-reader manufacturer] Plastic Logic has an e-reader where all the 
driving electronics
are built out of plastic transistors. Potentially, it could allow for 
the creation
of a completely flexible device."
The results could resemble the very malleable Gummi.
"Users can control the amount of bending very accurately," said 
Carsten Schwesig.
"The Gummi GUI contains intuitive bending controls for tasks that 
exploit this fact,
such as zooming in and out of a map, controlling the playback speed 
of media files
and controlling the composition of image layers.
"More information can be displayed on the small screen in the absence 
of buttons
or additional menu hierarchies."
'Next level'
There are already some touch feedback devices in the shops, including 
Samsung's Haptic
phone with its vibrating screen that makes a tick motion when the 
screen is touched,
confirming that it has understood the user's command.
Toshiba recently demoed its "New Sensation UI Solution," which uses 
E-sense technology
from Finnish company Senseg.
E-Sense can produce localised tactile feedback by controlling the 
electric charge
on a film affixed to the touch-panel.
It means users can feel different sensations such as touching wood, 
metal and soft
materials, says Toshiba.
Technologies such as these could take touchscreen technology - such 
as that used
in Apple's iPad - to the "next level", according to Dr Poupyrev.
"iPad allows people to touch virtual objects as though they were real," he said
"Flexibility should take a further step and let people feel them, 
stretch them, bend
them and have them react to these interactions," he said.

More information about the AccessIndia mailing list