Disney researchers create wearable tactile device, bringing artificial tactile sensation to touchscreens and objects.
Ever since Microsoft unveiled its Kinect device, imaginative modders have utilized the device for a number of projects, a common theme among many: touchscreen surfaces. Earlier this year, a company utilized the Kinect to transform just about any surface into an interactive touchscreen display. Now it seems like Disney researchers may have created the perfect pairing for the technology, the REVEL.
Based on Reverse Electrovibration, REVEL is a wearable device that injects a weak electrical signal anywhere on the user's body, creating an oscillating electrical field which is felt as a tactile response by the user. When used in conjunction with a tablet, the smooth surface of a tablet can be modified to produce a distinct tactile response matching whatever it is the user is touching on the screen.
For example, running your fingers along a photo of a rocky surface may produce a textured tactile response using the REVEL device. By varying the properties in the electrical signal, such as frequency or amplitude, the device can produce a variety of different sensations. The best part about the device is that it is capable of providing tactile sensations not only on touch screens but on everyday objects as well.
This means a flat surface using a Kinect touchscreen system could turn into the ultimate interactive experience. As detailed in the video, REVEL can be used for a wide range of purposes as all it requires is a common ground to be connected to the user and object. Perhaps the company will utilize the technology to create new immersive rides in its theme parks.