Use a Touchscreen Without Touching it

Alessia Andreotti
October 15th 2013

The development of touch technology has opened many possibilities of interaction with our electronic devices. Until now, you've had to physically touch the screen in order to interact with it. To solve this issue Tom Carter, PhD student at the University of Bristol’s Interaction and Graphics, designed UltraHaptics.

This system creates haptic feedback in mid-air. It uses an array of 320 ultrasound speakers set behind a touchscreen to generate beams of high-frequency sound waves. Carter explains: “What you feel is a vibration. The ultrasound exerts a force on your skin, slightly displacing it. We then turn this on and off at a frequency suited to the receptors in your hand so that you feel the vibration a four hertz vibration feels like heavy raindrops on your hand. At around 125?Hz it feels like you are touching foam and at 250?Hz you get a strong buzz”.

UltraHaptics offers a new kind of interaction, very different from those available at present, opening the way to new possibilities and conditions of use. Just think about the times you want to use your tablet or smartphone but you hands are dirty!

Source New Scientist

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1 comment

Sharvari Sathe
Posted 14/11/2013 – 15:24

We already have touchless control but its the haptic feedback which is cool. I think the inventors have vastly underestimated the potential applications of their technology.
I mean if one can create the sensation of touch with sound, why not simulate one swimming in virtual water?
Or how would it be, to be able to virtually touch a sculpture or if you know what I mean ;P?
Imagine being able to design 3D objects with this thing!
I believe this technology could bring virtual interaction to a whole new level if only it became perceived to be so..

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