Microsoft Demos Computer Interface That Takes Input From Muscle Movements
This new technology relies on electromyography (EMG), which is basically the muscular equivalent of an EEG — electroencephalography, the basis for brain-computer interfaces. An EMG detects the electrical charges created by muscle cells after they receive a signal from the brain. By placing an armband around the muscles in your forearm — the muscles that control your finger movements — an EMG can accurately detect the movement of your fingers. With training, software can then convert specific EMG readings into gestures, which can be fed into the computer as normal keyboard, mouse, or touchscreen inputs.
Japanese Telepresence (“Telexistence”) Avatar Transmits Touch, Temperature and Vibration to Remote Operator
The TELESAR V’s hands and fingers are equipped with a number of sensors to capture and relay tactile information to its operator through special gloves. The primary sensor inside each fingertip is a vision-based force sensor which is comprised of a wide-angle camera that looks through a gel-layer mixed with thermochromic ink. When the gel compresses, the thermochromic ink becomes denser, which the camera interprets as force information.
Microphones underneath the robot’s fingertips convert low to mid level vibrations; when pouring marbles from one cup to another (as the robot), the operator feels the tactile sensation from doing so. Furthermore, the operator is able to sense changes in temperature at the robot’s fingertips, thanks to thermoelectric peltier devices which reproduce warm and cold temperature inside the operator’s gloves. Now even an object’s texture can be relayed to the operator.
THE animated turning of pages in a digital magazine, the whir of a camera shutter when you snap a smartphone picture. Designers have a word for such ornaments, taken from the old and grafted onto the new: skeuomorphs.
Detractors say skeuomorphs represent the triumph of familiarity over function. Why make an electronic notepad look as though it is leather-bound?
But their defenders say that’s exactly the point: you may be able to simply swipe through a document, but the riffle of virtual pages is reassuring to newbies.
Now, the advent of textured screens and web pages promises a whole new wave of skeuomorphism: that leather binding will not only look like leather, it will feel like it too.
Such familiar sensations will no doubt be welcome as we get to grips with haptic devices. But skeuomorphs tend to outstay their welcome, sometimes persisting even after their originals become obsolete - like those whirring camera shutters
This new touch panel concept imparts a directional tactile feedback force to the user, by moving the panel surface. Developed by a research group with members from NEC and the Tokyo Institute of Technology, the system uses wires to pull the four corners of the panel. The tensile force to be applied to each wire can be adjusted, so the strength of the force, as well as the direction, can be controlled.
“This system produces a sensation like when you hit an object, enabling you to understand where the object is. With vibration alone, you know you’ve hit an object, but just touching an object doesn’t enable you to understand where it is. You will know if you look at it, but the information you can sense by touch is insufficient.”
“In this demo, when you touch the ball, if it’s rolling toward you slowly, the force you feel is weak, and if it hits you quickly, you feel a strong force from it. So in that regard as well, this system differs from a tactile display using vibration.”
Using Haptics to Recreate Feeling of Getting Stabbed:
Researchers at the University of Electro-Communications know that to virtually recreate the feeling of touch, they need to apply vibrations to two points of skin. Taking the idea one step further, they applied the stimuli to either side of the body to mimic what it might feel like if the object actually passed through. Using a tweaked Wii, as an item in the game travels through the player’s hand, the top sensor vibrates intensely at first, then subsides to zero. At this point, the bottom probe kicks in, going from zero to strong until the object is cleared — leaving the player feeling slightly violated and virtually gored.