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Using Computerized Sense Of Touch Over Long Distances: Haptics For Industrial Applications

Source: Basque Research
Date: June 20, 2007

Science Daily — Firstly, what is “Haptics?" This term means “of or relating to the sense of touch”. Haptic technology, or haptics, refers to the technology that connects the user to a computerized system via the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations and/or motions to the user. Perhaps people do not realize it, but haptic technology is already in our lives.

Vibrating phones, gaming controllers and force-feedback control knobs in cars, like BMW’s iDrive, are examples of this technology. These days, you can turn your phone ring tone off, put it in your purse and still feel that someone is calling you when you get a vibration. On the other hand, the Nintendo Wii video game console has been a new revolution for game lovers. The controller, called Wii, provides vibrations (i.e. when you hit the ball in a tennis game) which enhances the virtual sensation.

However, these examples are only the beginning of a cutting-edge technology. In terms of user-computer interaction, touch offers a new way of interacting or manipulating our screen. We used to just have vision and sound, now we also have touch. Thanks to haptic devices, such as, the most well-known PHANToM haptic devices or hand exoskeleton devices, “you can feel or touch what you see”, recognize object shapes, textures, stiffness or grasp them and feeling their weight. Such devices are being used now for virtual modeling, medicine, education, assistive technology for blind people, as well as industrial design and maintenance. Our work addresses the industrial field.

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