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3D Tactile and Kinesthetic Senses Technology: Creates Virtual Sensation

Photo of 3D Tactile and Kinesthetic Senses Technology

Research that creates the feeling of touch in the air is advanced at AIST. The compact device placed on a finger gives someone the illusion as if it was pulled and pushed although the finger touches nothing. The key is to send special vibrations to the finger. We aim at the realization of low cost and downsizing and the application to various industrial fields, including entertainment and medical care industries.

In recent years, new video-game consoles which are operated by gestures without touching them have appeared. If a user could feel touching virtual objects in this control method, it becomes much easier to control a video-game, and the reality of the video-game would be enhanced. AIST was successful in giving three senses (pressure, tactile, and kinesthetic sensation) to a finger by vibrating a small device fitted on the fingertip. Delicate control of vibration made it possible to realize sensation like the finger is pulled and pushed. If this device is applied to video-games, for example, a tennis game, users can feel the impact that the racket hits a ball in accordance with the movement of the user. In the application to the input device of 3D printers, users can design 3D data as if they are actually touching virtual objects. At present, stick-, coin-, and pen-shaped prototypes are developed. Furthermore, a wireless device is underdevelopment. We will advance downsizing the device aiming at developing a ring-type device.

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