Ultrahaptics’ breakthrough haptic technology creates the sensation of touch in mid-air – shapes and textures that cannot be seen but can be felt.
Ultrahaptics’ technology uses patented algorithms to control ultrasound waves, enabling the creation of tactile sensations in mid-air. The “virtual touch” technology uses ultrasonic speakers to project shapes and textures directly onto the user’s hands.
While today’s audio-visual technology is extremely sophisticated, haptic technology – incorporating our sense of touch – is far less advanced. Most computing equipment represents touch only in the most basic ways (such as the vibrate function on a mobile phone), if at all. It represents a largely untapped market and a huge opportunity for innovative hi-tech businesses.
“In the physical world,” explains CEO Steve Cliffe, “the information we get from our sense of touch is crucial. Tactile sensations are what make natural and intuitive interaction with objects possible. But as soon as we start interacting with computers, we lose that. It makes everything harder to use.”
By integrating touch into computer interfaces, mid-air haptics has the potential to transform our interactions, making interfaces more intuitive, more accessible and more enjoyable to use.
Ultrahaptics, founded in 2014, already works with blue-chip clients worldwide to incorporate mid-air haptics into their products. In just four years the company has grown to almost 100 employees and now has offices in Germany, California and Korea, as well as the UK.
To date, Ultrahaptics has worked with clients to develop automotive infotainment controls that can be operated without drivers taking their eyes off the road; create 3D “haptic holograms” users can touch as well as see; add the sensation of touch into augmented and virtual reality; and create digital movie posters that encourage audience interaction.
The technology is also gaining interest from many other sectors, including gaming, industrial and medical, and smart home applications and appliances.
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