Touch feedback, known as haptics, has been used in entertainment, rehabilitation, and even surgical training. University of Bristol researchers, using ultrasound, have developed an invisible 3D haptic shape that can be seen and felt.
Led by Dr Ben Long and colleagues Professor Sriram Subramanian, Sue Ann Seah, and Tom Carter from the University of Bristol’s Department of Computer Science, the research could change the way 3D shapes are used. The new technology could enable surgeons to explore a CT scan by enabling them to feel a disease, such as a tumor, using haptic feedback.
By focusing complex patterns of ultrasound, the air disturbances can be seen as floating 3D shapes. Visually, the researchers have demonstrated the ultrasound patterns by directing the device at a thin layer of oil so that the depressions in the surface can be seen as spots when lit by a lamp.
The system generates an invisible three-dimensional shape that can be added to 3D displays to create an image that can be seen and felt. The research team have also shown that users can match a picture of a 3D shape to the shape created by the system.
Also: Learn about an Ophthalmic Ultrasound System for Ocular Structures.