Sound Shapes You Can Feel!

Hi guys sorry for the long wait, university has been a little troublesome but tech2day is never going away!

Computer scientists from the University of Bristol have created the first machine that generates floating 3D shapes that are invisible as they are made with sound. The possibilities of this technology should become apparent very quickly to you for augmented reality, in this article we are going to cover some of this systems specifications to see what we can expect from it.

Ultrasonic haptic feedback interfaces are still in research, as this technology can create the illusion of different surface textures by sending varying frequencies of vibration though your fingers, this technology can create touchscreens where the user can pull a picture of the beach up and feel the sands on the screen. However creating 3 dimensional shapes could lead us to feel an object we want to purchase before we even buy it, or offer a new way of interacting with technology and each other, however this technology can be extremely weaponizable too.

Previous researchers have tied to achieve this technology using many different ways such as air vortex and air jets however ultrasonic proved to be the best way to achieve this illusion.

What this device does is that it creates points in the air using what’s known acoustic radiation force, created by 320 separate transducers. This is a phenomenon where sound waves will come together to produce a force which can be felt by the human skin, as the human skin is designed very efficiently to react to many different types of stimuli.

To track the human hand and how the sounds waves should be outputted researches use the leap motion controller, which has an impressive range of 100cm and a field of view of 140 degrees, as ultrasonic transducers they can generate sound pressures of around 20 Pascals at a distance of 30cm with a 60 degree angle of directional spread.

To control these transducers the researchers used XMOS L1-128 processors running at 400MHz, this refresh rate is fast enough to drive signals at a rate of 2Mhz, having this kind of control allows the device to generate shapes in real time.

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This system allows objects to be created dynamically changing or moving as the user desires, those who have tested this have reported actually feeling the basic shapes such as cubes and spheres and pyramids. All this system requires now is a holographic light output and we can generate almost any object we can think of, this is an extremely exciting technology and will hopefully one day be available to the public but for now we cannot say when this will happen.

 

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