Design and Technology Studio
What is ‘haptics’?
The use of technology that stimulates the senses of touch and motion, especially to reproduce in remote operation or computer simulation the sensations that would be felt by a user interacting directly with physical objects.
Who are Ultrahaptics?
We are a haptic technology company that uses ultrasound to create rich, three-dimensional shapes and textures that can be felt, but not seen.
Using technology, tools and expertise we can add amazing haptics to virtual objects, develop immersive holographic interfaces, and augment gesture control with natural tactile feedback.
‘You can unlock the true potential of touch.’
Could you explain to us what haptic feedback is?
Sure, haptic feedback is the use of touch to communicate with users. Most people are familiar with the vibration in a mobile phone or the rumble in a game controller – but haptic feedback is much more than that.
Human beings have five senses, but electronic devices communicate with us using predominantly just two: sight and hearing. Haptics change this by simulating the sense of touch.
What exactly does Ultrahaptics do?
We create haptics in mid-air. Our algorithms control ultrasound waves to create tactile sensations in mid-air.
Controllers aren’t needed: ultrasonic speakers project shapes and textures onto the user’s hands.
With this technology you can cast a magic spell in VR with your hands and feel the magic sparkling along your fingers. You can touch a virtual world with your bare hands, just as you touch the real one.
How does it work exactly?
The software can be programmed to find your hand and direct sound to it, projecting vibrations onto a spot as small as your fingertip from as much as six feet away.
It can also create multiple sensations simultaneously – allowing different hands to touch different things.
What contributions has haptic feedback had?
We are already using the technology in cars and on digital street signs that people can interact with.
The technology has also been developed to work with industrial controls, medical interfaces and augmented reality.
We also support academics worldwide through a programme designed to enable additional research and development around the technology.
Could you tell us some of the fun applications of haptic feedback?
Yes, haptic feedback can make people’s theme park experience even more fun. Theme parks are places with amazing visual illusions and audio effects, but what if they had equally incredible tactile illusions. For example, it can make things like casting a magic spell even more real.
“Touch is a really essential sense to make compelling virtual reality.” Tom Carter – Co-founder
Interview conducted by Elliott, Aysha, Aysyah
At Ultrahaptics we create tactile sensations in mid-air. No controllers or wearables are needed: our patented “virtual touch” technology uses ultrasound to project shapes and textures directly onto the user’s hands.