The course, which has been running since January 2017, is based on Ivan Sutherland’s vision of an “Ultimate Display” – a room that could render data so realistically that it would allow users to interact with information as if it were a real, physical object.
Ultrahaptics has created a technology that allows users to feel virtual shapes, objects, and controls in mid-air, without the need to wear gloves or hold specialised controllers. The haptic sensation is projected directly onto the user’s hand, using modulated ultrasound.
“We are excited to see what the students will develop,” says Ultrahaptics’ Robin Alter, “a sense of touch is fundamental to how humans interact with, and experience, the physical world. However, current virtual and augmented reality applications still lack intuitive tactile feedback, which significantly impacts user experience and the sense of presence. Ultrahaptics’ technology recreates the sense of touch in mid-air, enabling users to reach out and interact naturally, unencumbered by wearables and controllers.”
MIT’s Dr. Daniel Leithinger adds: “Virtual and Augmented Reality interfaces have developed rapidly, but current technologies often still lack a key ingredient for building the ultimate display – the ability to physically touch information.”