Ultrasound Tactile Display - touch and feel virtual objects!

It is a sort of unspoken rule that many things earlier existing only in the sci-fi books are now real. It started with "Nautilus" of Jules Verne, and it continues even now. Twenty years ago many modern things was thought impossible and futuristic. Even now there are some things that are impossible if we think about them on a current stage of technology progress. However, technology developes and some of that variety of futuristic sci-fi things already exists in reality. Remember those holographic projectors? Their prototypes already exist, and they can show an image in full 3D, so you can go around them and see it from all sides. This invention is even more interesting - it creates virtual object in air, so you can feel it and even touch it!

Scientists from University of Tokyo made a very interesting research. They tried to incorporate all that is known about ultrasound, and make it work for creating an ultimate effect of touching objects, that exist only on computer screen. This is possible by using a small pad, made from ultrasound emitters. Controlled by computer, they make static distortions in the air, so we can feel like we are touching something. Camera controls position of fingers and other objects so the pad knows when to start working. This device was named Airborne Ultrasound Tactile Display, designed by Professor Takayuki Iwamoto. It has some limitation on the current stage, capable only of producing vertical objects, but scientists are working to make it produce objects in full 3D.

Some industrial and gaming companies are already interested in this device, seeing its bright future. And they are right - if scientists will make it fully operational, it can bring the interaction with computer on a whole new level. Combined with holographic displays, it can fully imitate a real object, made entirely by your computer. It can be used in many ways - by engineers who design new machines or vehicles, 3D designers, and also in many other domains. Maybe this is the next level of interaction between user and computer - just like the mice and keyboards are nowadays?


  1. I've heavily researched this technology. I want to build this, but I don't know where to get the stuff, or what software that I need.

  2. Im really interested in building a gadget that would allow us to touch and feel a virtual image,it would be really helpful if you can assit me with tahe tools and softwares for doing it.

  3. This is very good information.i think it's useful advice. really nice blog. keep it up!!!
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