An Indian-origin, Professor Sriram Subramanian from University of Sussex, UK has created tactile sensations on the palm using ultrasound sent through the hand. Explaining his invention, the scientist says technologies will inevitably need to engage other senses such as touch as we enter into an "eye-free" age of technology. “What we offer people is the ability to feel their actions when they are interacting with the hand”, claims the scientist.
The research team has named the invention as ‘Skin-Haptics’, as it sends the sensations to the palm from the other side of the hand, leaving the palm free to display the screen. The SkinHaptics device sends ultrasound through the hand to precise points on the palm, paving the way for next-generation smart technology that uses one’s own skin as a touchscreen. The device uses "time-reversal" processing to send ultrasound waves through the hand and the skin used as a touch screen successfully create tactile sensations on the palm using ultrasound sent through the hand.
“The ‘Wearables’ are already big business and will only get bigger. But as we wear technology more, it gets smaller and we look at it less, and therefore multisensory capabilities become much more important," says the scientist.
"If you imagine you are on your bike and want to change the volume control on your smart watch, the interaction space on the watch is very small. So companies are looking at how to extend this space to the hand of the user”, Prof. Subramanian noted.
The research was recently presented at the "IEEE Haptics Symposium 2016" in Philadelphia, USA.