A tech firm in Japan recently introduced a technology that would make 3D images a little more tangible. Thanks to the use of haptic technology, which is used in everyday objects such as video game controllers and smartphones to create vibrations simulating real-world touch-based interactions, Miraisens has created touchable 3D technology. The “3D-Haptics Technology” uses a virtual-reality headset and wrist-mounted box connected to a fingertip-attached molding, coin-shaped molding, stick or pen. This setup allows a user to “feel” virtual objects – the resistance of a button, for example.
Technology that generates touchable 3D imagery was unveiled in Japan Monday, with its developers saying users could pull and push objects that are not really there. Know-how that could improve a gaming experience, or allow someone to physically shape objects that exist only on a computer, will soon be available to buy, said Miraisens, a high-tech firm based outside Tokyo. “Touching is an important part of human communication but virtual reality has until now been lacking it,” its chief executive Natsuo Koda told a press conference. “This technology will give you a sense that you can touch objects in the 3D world,” said Koda, a former Sony researcher on virtual reality. It works by fooling the brain, blending the images the eye is seeing with different patterns of vibration created by a small device on the fingertip, said Norio Nakamura, the inventor of “3D-Haptics Technology” and chief technical officer at the firm. In one demonstration of a prototype head-mounted display, the company showed how the user can feel resistance from virtual buttons that he or she is pushing.