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Japanese Tech Firm, Miraisens, Unveils New "Touchable" 3D Technology Which May Influence 3D Printing

September 5, 2014 | Telepresence Options

Miraisens

Story and images by Debra Thimmesh / The Fiscal Times

Japanese high-tech firm, Miraisens, announced that it has developed haptic technology, which closes the tactility gap that formerly existed with the virtual reality experience. Haptic technology or "haptics" simulates the sense of touch by applying vibrations, forces, or motions to the user. The company, based in Tsukuba, just outside of Tokyo, says its haptic technology "will give you a sense that you can touch objects in the 3D world."

head-mount_display

More familiar applications for haptic technology are, for example, the video game controllers that simulate the tactile experience of automobile driving-from racing to high-speed chases. Game controllers, including steering wheels, rumble or vibrate in response to, for instance, the texture of the road surface, the speed of the vehicle. and certain driving maneuvers such as sharp turns. Miraisens' haptic technology renders earlier efforts like these somewhat quaint. "It works by fooling the brain," says Norio Nakamura, chief technical officer at Miraisens, and the inventer of 3D-Haptics Technology, "blending the images the eye is seeing with different patterns of vibration created by a small device on the fingertip."

At the press conference in Tsukuba, a journalist was allowed to demonstrate a prototype head-mount display, which connects with a small hand-held, coin-shaped device that enables the user to feel resistance from virtual buttons he or she pushes. The company says the haptics system can be built into devices in the shape of pens, sticks, or coins, like the one demonstrated. In fact, as a company spokesperson suggested, one particularly invaluable use for the new technology a navigation assistance system in the form of a cane for visually impaired people.

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