Most augmented reality experiences are purely visual, with spatial audio gaining popularity to make visual experiences more realistic. However, the use of the sense of touch can be the next limit for AR experiences.
This week, researchers from the School of Engineering and Informatics at the University of Sussex published an article about a method for displaying tactile holograms without an AR headset.
The system is called the Multimodal Acoustic Trap Display (MATD) and includes an LED projector, a speaker array, and a foam bead. The speakers generate ultrasonic waves that hang (or hold) the bead in the air and quickly move it around the room to create the perception of a volumetric image, with the projector adding color to the content through red, green and blue light. "Our new technology is inspired by old TV's that scan a single color beam over the screen so fast that your brain registers it as a single image," Dr. said. Ryuuji Hirayama, a JSPS scientist and Rutherford Fellow at the University of Sussex and lead author of the research paper, in a statement. "Our prototype does the same with a colored particle that can move anywhere in 3D space so quickly that the naked eye sees a volumetric image in the sky."
Another set of speakers creates the illusion of haptic feedback when users interact with the hologram. The system allows the creation of mid-air buttons only through ultrasound – and all this while the sweet sounds of the band Queen are being played. . Our prototype directs and focuses this energy, which can then stimulate your ears for audio, or stimulate your skin to feel content, "said Dr. Diego Martinez Plasencia, co-creator of the MATD and a researcher on 3D user interfaces at the University of Sussex
The approach is similar to the technology of Ultrahaptics (recently renamed Ultraleap after the acquisition of Leap Motion), which uses sound waves to generate tactile experiences.
Coincidentally, last week's season 4 premiere of cult cartoon Rick and Morty featured (SPOILER ALERT) a conscious AI hologram that achieved mass by merging with ferrofluid , a magnetic fluid that usually consists of iron and oil.
So hopefully this real breakthrough will eventually alone making future augmented reality experiences more realistic instead of serving as a catalyst for AI to make humanity redundant.