Ultrasound provides users with a feel for an image

Researchers at the University of Bristol (Bristol, UK) and the University of Glasgow (Glasgow, UK) propose to see if they can deploy an array of ultrasound transducers to provide haptic feedback from displays through the air.

Oct 24th, 2011

One of the disadvantages of current interactive display devices such as Microsoft's Surface is that although users can touch images of objects, they are unable to feel them.

Now, researchers at the University of Bristol (Bristol, UK) and the University of Glasgow (Glasgow, UK) propose to see if they can deploy an array of ultrasound transducers to provide haptic feedback from such displays through the air.

The researchers hope to demonstrate that the skin on a human hand would be able to feel the ultrasonic pressure wave produced by a carefully calibrated series of transducers, and therefore provide feedback from images displayed on horizontal surfaces.

The research team consists of Sriram Subramanian, Mark Marshall, and Jason Alexander from Bristol’s computer science department, and professor Bruce Drinkwater from Bristol mechanical engineering department, who will work alongside professor Stephen Brewster from the computer science department at Glasgow.

They were recently awarded a grant of £335,832 from the EPSRC (Swindon, UK) to investigate the potential of such a system.

For their part, Microsoft Research (Cambridge, UK) and XMOS (Bristol, UK) will serve as project partners.

-- By Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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