Dr Benjamin Long presented a paper on creating 3D haptic shapes that can be felt in mid-air today at SIGGRAPH Asia. The paper will be published in ACM Transactions on Graphics.
The method uses ultrasound, which is focussed onto hands above the device and that can be felt. By focussing complex patterns of ultrasound, the air disturbances can be seen as floating 3D shapes. Visually, the ultrasound patterns have been demonstrated by directing the device at a thin layer of oil so that the depressions in the surface can be seen as spots when lit by a lamp.
Dr Ben Long, Research Assistant from the Bristol Interaction and Graphics (BIG) group in the Department of Computer Science, said: “Touchable holograms, immersive virtual reality that you can feel and complex touchable controls in free space, are all possible ways of using this system.
“In the future, people could feel holograms of objects that would not otherwise be touchable, such as feeling the differences between materials in a CT scan or understanding the shapes of artefacts in a museum.”