We are entering a new world of interactive games and experiences where users can wave and interact through touch-free gestures. A difficulty with touch-free interaction is that often users don’t have any tactile feedback. In other words, they have no sense of having touched the object and struggle to know whether they have selected the virtual interface or not. Ultrahaptics is our invention to bring back the sense of touch to touchless interfaces, creating the magical experience of feeling without touching. With our system one feels like they are touching virtual objects and surfaces with their bare hands. We do this by reflecting air pressure waves off the hand in a way that can create different sensations for each fingertip. Our system can be deployed to work in a range of scenarios like gaming, automotive and home appliances.
Sriram Subramanian is a Professor of Human-computer Interaction at the University of Bristol. His research interests are in exploring new forms of interactive systems combining novel displays combinations with multi-touch, haptics and touchless gestures. Before joining the University of Bristol, he worked as a senior scientist at Philips Research (The Netherlands) and as an Assistant Professor at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada). In 2013, he co-founded Ultrahaptics a spin-out company developing technology to provide the physical sensation of touch in mid-air. Ultrahaptics enables one to feel virtual objects and textures or receive tactile cues for touchless interaction.