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Tingly Projections Make Beamed Gadgets Come Alive

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An image of a simple numeric keyboard projected on a hand.

A new system can beam the outline of computer or cellphone keyboards onto any surface.

Credit: Robert Gilhooly

The latest in interactive projections at the University of Tokyo in Japan has a tactile angle. Researchers have developed a system that can beam the outline of computer keyboards or cellphones onto any surface, including the hand, and have combined it with a second system called the Airborne Ultrasound Tactile Display. The first system is designed to project onto moving objects, and feeds the exact location information to the second system.

In a demonstration, a projected keypad appeared on the hand, and the illuminated points produced a slight tingle that felt like a jet of air. The feeling was unusual, but it made the projected image seem more real. The sensation is generated by sound beamed by about 2,000 ultrasonic wave emitters, says developer Hiroyuki Shinoda.

The auto, medical, and gaming industries are showing interest in the combined system, notes the University of Tokyo's Masatoshi Ishikawa.

From New Scientist
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