We communicate with machines through typing and talking, but now there’s a new way to interact—through touch. Haptics is a growing field that allows users to tap into artificial intelligence technology using human skin receptors, and the potential applications are astounding.
Background of Haptics
Touch is a powerful sense and provides the brain another layer of human interaction. Even if something isn’t really happening, if a person can have a tactile experience and touch something, they can believe it is right in front of them. That’s the basic premise behind haptics—people use special sensors with their fingers that enable them to have a tactile experience no matter where they are or what they can see.
The basic idea of haptics has existed for some time and has mainly been seen with rudimentary applications in video games. A traditional controller would vibrate after shooting a gun or shake if a user was doing something wrong. However, haptics technology being developed today takes the concept of touch technology to the next level with greater nuances and a wider range of uses.
How it is Used
For many people, haptics is simpler and easier than typing, texting, or using a video game controller. In its early stages, haptics is being developed for use in gaming and virtual reality, but it can also be applied to a wide variety of other areas.
Haptics opens the door to communicating with devices using different senses. For example, it can remotely share sensory information like how a piece of clothing feels during an online shopping experience. It could also be used in steering wheels to vibrate and alert drivers of unsafe conditions or to vibrate in the direction the driver needs to turn the wheel as an alternative to traditional GPS systems. Other haptics technology is being developed for use in medicine, national defense, and sports training.
VR Touch has created Go Touch VR, which is a set of sensors that straps to a user’s fingertips. Through a series of small taps, the sensors are able to communicate with users. The simple technology is incredibly powerful and allows users to communicate with a number of devices.
It is currently being used mainly in video games and can use different types of motions and feelings to communicate different things and give users the sensation of actually holding and touching things like they would feel in real life. Adding haptic technology to video games expands the potential and creates a more lifelike experience.
Plans for the Future
The potential of haptic technology is just beginning to be seen, and we will undoubtedly see large growth in the area in the coming years. Many mobile manufacturers are already implementing some aspects of haptics into their smartphones and tablets, which allows users to tap to communicate and get a response; that application is sure to grow and expand to other companies.
As the technology is proven and developed, haptics will likely play a larger role in defense and safety, along with its consumer product potential. Companies are also growing that make it easier to integrate haptics into a wide range of technology, which allows other companies across a number of industries the ability to more quickly and easily add haptics to their solutions.
There is some risk to haptics that will likely need to be addressed at some point, such as the psychological need for physical consequences when feeling things like rock climbing or fighting. There is also a growing threat of haptics being used for criminal activity like virtual sexual activities without consent. However, most of the dangers and challenges seem small compared to the possibilities haptics brings.
Haptics is another way artificial intelligence and new technology plays a growing role in our everyday lives. It showcases how technology can improve the entertainment aspects of peoples’ lives, as well as the safety and productivity. With haptics, the future really is at our fingertips.
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