Instead, Disney researchers employ a newly discovered physical phenomenon called reverse electrovibration to create the illusion of changing textures as the user’s fingers sweep across a surface. A weak electrical signal, which can be applied imperceptibly anywhere on the user’s body, creates an oscillating electrical field around the user’s fingers that is responsible for the tactile feedback.
The technology, called REVEL, could be used to create “please touch” museum displays, add haptic feedback to games, apply texture to projected images on surfaces of any size and shape, provide customized directions on walls for people with visual disabilities and enhance other applications of augmented reality.
“Augmented reality to date has focused primarily on visual and auditory feedback, but less on the sense of touch,” said Olivier Bau, a postdoc at Disney Research, Pittsburgh. “Sight and sound are important, but we believe the addition of touch can create a really unique and magical experience.”
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