The Future of Haptics

In the sci-fi movie Ready Player One, Wade Watts got a Haptic Boot suit so he could play, beat the bad guy and be a hero in the world of OASIS. I always wonder if that would become true in our real life, (I mean, the haptic suit).

While I searching around about haptics technology, there is one research that caught my eyes, the researchers at Northwestern University have developed a battery-free, wireless system that adds a sense of touch to VR experiences. [1]

Nowadays, VR headsets provide an immersive virtual world for us to explore, we can feel it with our eyes or ears. Imagine if we could feel the heat or cold of the environment, the rain or water splash on our skin, or any sports motions we’re experiencing in the VR world could be more realistic. Or even better, we can hold hands with our friends or families who are on the other side of the world; the patients who lose their tactile nerves could feel the hugs and any actual objects in their life again.

“Epidermal VR” system using a thin, light-weighted patch to integrate 32 individually programmable, millimeter-scale actuators, which can generate a sense of touch at a corresponding location on the skin. The patch can connect to touchscreen devices, it can transmit the tactile sensation to the user who wears the patch wirelessly.

The system could be applied in haptic suits that VR gamers or patients can feel the sense of touch on our skin. I believe it’s an incredible development in haptics technology.

References

[1] https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2019/11/epidermal-vr-gives-technology-a-human-touch/

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