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Communications of the ACM


Touching the Virtual

Touching the Virtual, illustration

Ultrasound is focused to create the shape of a virtual sphere that may be felt.

Credit: Bristol Interaction and Graphics / University of Bristol

Researchers have been hard at work redefining the human-machine interface, in particular looking at new ways we can interact with computers through touch, without actually touching something.

Holograms are not new technology, but there is a futuristic frisson surrounding the topic. A computer-generated hologram is created by a sequence of three-dimensional (3D) images that are processed into a virtual image, a visual illusion. If you try to touch one, your hand will go through it.


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