science
Touchy-Feely Speakers Hint at the Future of Haptic Interfaces

Touchscreens are flat and hard by necessity, thanks to their dense layers of glass, conductive metal, and capacitors. But as haptic interfaces start to appear in commercial gadgets, touchscreen devices are poised to become even more… touchy. Enter Eunhee Jo, a British Korean designer who’s spending the next year as a designer in residence at London’s Design Museum, and who specializes in haptic interfaces.
You might remember Jo from a project she unveiled last year, called the Tangible Textural Interface, which embedded touchscreen functionality directly on the soft fabric of a speaker system. This year, as part of a residency program at the Design Museum, she’s refining that concept into a workable product. Unveiled on the museum’s website this week, Surface Matters is a new prototype that looks like a set of two circular, desktop speakers. In fact, only one is a speaker, the other is a tactile control system that lets the user modulate volume, track, and audio style by pressing into a soft fabric surface, behind which, a motion sensor captures the gestures performed on the surface. Read More >>

research
Air-Powered Force Feedback Could Make Kinect Even More Immersive

Microsoft's Kinect provided gamers with a hands-free way to play their favourite titles. But when the controller was removed from the situation, so was the haptic force feedback that can enhance gameplay. Most of us were ok with the tradeoff, but not the Imagineers at Disney Research who've come up with a way to provide tactile force feedback using nothing but targeted puffs of air. Read More >>

robots
You Can Be a Real Superhero With This Spider-Sense Robot Suit

Who doesn't want real-life superpowers? Unfortunately, getting yourself bitten by some kind of radioactive spider isn't really the best way to go about it. But thankfully, tech is here to resurrect your childhood hopes and dreams. University of Illinois' Victor Mateevitsi, for instance, has managed to bring "spider-sense" to the real world with a haptic bodysuit. Read More >>

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