Most augmented reality experiences are purely visual experiences, with spatial audio becoming increasingly popular to make visual experiences more realistic. However, using the sense of touch could be the next limit to AR experience.
This week researchers at the University of Sussex School of Engineering and Informatics published an article describing a method for displaying tactile holograms without an AR headset.
The system, called the Multimodal Acoustic Trap Display (MATD), includes a LED projector, a speaker assembly, and a foam bead. The loudspeakers generate ultrasonic waves that suspend (or capture) the bead in the air and move it quickly around the room to create a volumetric image, with the projector adding color to the content via red, green, and blue light. [1
Another set of speakers creates the illusion of haptic feedback when users interact with the hologram. The system allows the creation of buttons in the air by ultrasound alone – and the simultaneous playback of the sweet sounds of the band Queen.
"Even though ultrasound is not audible to us, it is still a mechanical wave and carries energy through the air. Our prototype directs and focuses this energy, which then stimulates your ears for audio or stimulates your skin to be satisfied feel, "said Dr. Diego Martinez Plasencia, co-developer of the MATD and researcher for 3D user interfaces at the University of Sussex.