July 31, 2003

One-Eyed Zombies Are Becoming More Real

An article entitled Reality bytes discusses force-feedback and haptics for input and output devices.

"Improvements in graphics and sound have already raised the bar. Now, the physically immersive technology known as "haptics" is beginning to deliver on the science-fiction dream of interactive alternative realities, making gamers feel a part of their games as never before. ... Haptics technology explores how peripheral computing devices can impart force and vibrations in response to what is taking place on the screen. The military began research in the field in the 1960s. Later the focus shifted to bringing a more tactile computing experience to users of medical and automotive technologies."

"One result is technology that aims to convince the brain that it is feeling, say, a seven-gram change in pressure from a haptic device. Haptic research has also drawn on the work of scientists who have inserted probes into the arm nerves of patients to determine the effects of various tactile experiences. "Ultimately, though, you can only ask consumers if they thought it was realistic or not," Chang says. "You can't put probes in their brain and measure."