Disney Research is bringing several new innovations to this year’s SIGGRAPH, including AIREAL, a new haptic feedback system that literally sends tactile pulses through the air. By carefully controlling jets of air with computerized nozzels, not only can AIREAL give you a breeze, but by creating little carefully controlled vortices, it can actually simulate a touch texture. The video (linked below) shows a butterfly being projected onto the user’s hand, whose movements and wingbeats are simulated by the AIREAL system.
There’s huge applications for this technology outside of the (commercial or home) cinema, as well. One of the big drawbacks to gesture control, whether for gaming or for home automation, is the lack of tactile feedback. What if you could know when you’d grabbed an application pane on your Smart TV to change apps? Or turn up the AC without even looking just like the old analog thermostats?
I’m sure that companies like D-BOX are looking at AIREAL with great interest for enhancing the total 4D experience. Me? I’m looking forward to the Haunted Mansion with “real” ghostly specters brushing past me.
In addition to AIREAL, Disney is also demonstrating at SIGGRAPH a new algorithm that builds quick, textured 3D models out of a series of still images. See more on that at gizmag.
Via: [Disney Research]