Haptic Technology; Digitizing touch

    As my parents watch a documentary on how video games first came from arcades into the home, I begin to think about how much they've evolved. For example,When your playing you can actually feel when you get shot or knocked over, hitting something, etc. Being able to hear the vibrations, feel them in your hands, and see it all on the screen on the same time just makes it all the more real. So where can touch technology like this be applied? Could technology be more touchy feely?

   Apple announced it's iwatch this last Tuesday, which as they put it, is creating new ways of communication. From being able to send your heartbeat to someone, to sending a certain number of taps to communicate a general message.

    Imagine a tablet computer that lets you feel fabrics and textures, robotic surgical tools that let doctors use their incredibly keen sense of touch, video games that allow you to feel hits and computer programs that teach you the movements of a sport. By researching these areas -- as well as applications in stroke rehabilitation and aid for the blind -- we can improve our interpretations of touch and dig up new opportunities to use it in interactions between humans, computers and machines.

  • A tablet computer that actually lets you feel the objects on the screen. Think a swatch of carpeting or a fur collar.
  • Robot-assisted surgical tools that allow surgeons to feel as they cut, probe or suture, improving the quality of care.
  • A robot agile enough to manipulate almost any object it encounters, from a bunch of bananas to the chicken drumsticks you may bring home from the grocery store.