Ultrahaptics impulses mid-air haptics into VR

December 05, 2016 // By Julien Happich
Ultrahaptics has setup a brand new virtual reality (VR) demo to showcases its mid-air touchless haptic technology. Using a HTC VIVE headset and a small array of ultrasound speakers controlled through Ultrahaptics algorithms, the demo allows users to feel virtual blocks that can be grabbed, thrown, tapped and nudged without the need to wear specialist accessories such as gloves or controllers.

According to the Bristol-based startup, the incorporation of touch offers a third dimension to a virtual setting, infinitely improving the user experience. The technology can create the feeling of virtual objects, switches and dials which float in mid air, or track the users fingertips, to create a truly responsive and enhanced user experience. The ultrasound can be focused on multiple fingertips at the same time, creating different textures and sensations on each.

“We are incredibly excited to launch this new demo at VRX and to be able to show the world that touch is the missing piece in VR,” said Steve Cliffe, CEO of Ultrahaptics in a company statement.

“When you combine the Ultrahaptics technology with good VR graphical effects, VR and AR developers can create a highly compelling sensation of touchless control or holding a virtual object. The future is limitless! Imagine feeling your way through a zombie-filled labyrinth or around the SpaceX Mars Station, or simply just being able to touch the objects in game-play – like pressing a button or pulling a lever, or making a catch in a ball game. This is the stuff of the future, and yet here it is!”

Going beyond the sort of hard feedback that haptic gloves could provide to a virtual reality headset wearer, Ultrahaptics' technology can also generate ‘soft’ tactile sensations like air movement or environmental effects, which increases the realism and the immersiveness of the VR experience.

The Ultrahaptics VR demo will be available to experience at VRX at the Mission Bay Conference Centre, December 7-8 2016 where Ultrahaptics' CTO Tom Carter is invited to speak.

Visit Ultrahaptics at http://ultrahaptics.com

 

Related articles:

Invisible haptics extend to AR/VR

Dev kit for ultrasonic mid-air haptics

UltraHaptics promises airborne tactile interfaces