A vibration in your pocket only tells you that an email or text message has arrived, not what it’s about. So researchers at the Nagoya Institute of Technology have developed a unique communication system that lets written messages be felt on someone else’s hand, without any physical interaction.
In its current form the system relies on an array of almost 400 ultrasonic speakers that are individually controlled to create interference. When a hand is placed in front of this array, the speakers can produce enough force to be felt as a single point pushing on the skin. So on one end a message can be written on a pressure-sensitive touchscreen display, and on the other end the movements of their finger or stylus would be felt on another user’s hand. Including the speed and intensity at which the message was originally transcribed.
The idea behind the concept was to try and convey more of the emotion behind a message, allowing the receiver to experience the writer’s feelings while they wrote it. But there are more practical applications than just trying to make modern communications feel a bit less heartless. The system provides another physical interface allowing visually impaired users to feel a braille message. And if eventually shrunk and integrated into mobile phones, it could let users feel an email without having to remove their hands or phones from their pockets. [DigInfo]