9 Contenders For The Best Design Of The Year

Each year, the People’s Design Award honours a groundbreaking design that improves daily lives. Last year’s winner, the Pack H20 Water Backpack, was a more efficient way for people to carry drinking water long distances. This year’s nominees were just announced, and they include mushroom bricks, smart lighting, and multiple haptic wearables. Now, you can vote for your favourite.

Bio-Acoustics, Haptic Steering Wheels, RFID: The Future According To AT&T

For most, AT&T is simply seen as the company that delivers phone and internet and TV service to the US masses. But they also have a full-fledged R&D program, which spans multiple countries. Today they offered a glimpse into the fruits of those AT&T labs, with innovations ranging from clever to “OMG I WANT THIS NOW”. Here are the three best things AT&T had to share.

URC MX-5000 Remote Puts Haptic Feedback Where It Belongs

For every five products that claim some kind of haptic feedback support, maybe one actually puts it to good use—like the URC MX-5000 touchscreen remote, which uses the technology to guide your fingers while they guide your TV.

Future iPhone Patents Show Fingerprint ID For Different Gestures

MacRumors found three interesting patents that point to various new interaction techniques. The most interesting is the fingerprint ID directly on the screen so that the iPhone can see which finger you’re using and accept gestures appropriately.

Immersion's New Haptic Touchscreen Tech Encourages Corny iPhone Romance

Haptic technology has the possibility to make touchscreens so much better, improving accuracy and adding a whole new range of sensory feedback. Immersion, primary developers of haptic technology, presented both a refined onscreen keyboard and an incredibly cheesy “Immersive Messaging” protocol at this year’s All Things D conference.

Philips Emotion Jacket Touches You In Movie Theatres

End of Titanic. Rose floating on debris, Jack in the water. You want to cry but can’t. Philips’ new concept jacket gives you a little hug (out of sympathy? pity?) and there go the waterworks.

12 Haptic Interfaces

One look at the Novint Falcon controller can get anyone excited about the potential of haptic interfaces. OObject has put together a list of 12 such devices, offering a glimpse into our interactive future. [OObject]

Novint CEO Demands Falcon Haptics Controller Be On Consoles By Year-End

We LOVED the Novint Falcon and pistol grip attachment in September, but non-PC, console-owning chaps were left out in the cold. If Novint is successful, that could all change by the end of the year.

3D Force Field Opens Door for Holodeck, Virtual Touchable Leia

Here’s the video of the Airborne Ultrasound Tactile Display, one of those technologies that will probably change entertainment forever: A high-fidelity 3D force field on the air that allows you to actually touch virtual objects with your bare hands. Initially, this technology could find its way into virtual keyboards, but in the future–as the size and resolution increases–there are endless possibilities. And with “endless possibilities” I really mean “virtual sex.” Don’t believe me? See what the developer has to say about it:

Ultrasound Haptic Devices Can Project Tactile Shapes Into Thin Air

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have demonstrated a device that can create touchable, creepily invisible floating “objects” using focused ultrasound waves. Though the technology is early testing stages, its designers have already expressed an interest in weaponi- I mean, commercialising it for possible use in gaming and design applications. For now, the team has only been able to simulate resistance in one direction, but say that forming complex shapes and textures is plausible.