How will we be able to touch virtual surface in the future?

Why you should listen to her

Could technology be more touchy feely? Mechanical engineer Katherine J. Kuchenbecker answers this question with a resounding ‘yes’. Katherine researches the design, control and performance of robotic systems that enable a user to touch virtual objects and distant environments as though they were real and within reach. These interfaces combine electromechanical sensors, actuators and computer control, allowing for technology that can fool the human sense of touch, otherwise known as ‘haptics.’

Imagine a tablet computer that lets you feel fabrics and textures, robotic surgical tools that let doctors use their incredibly well-honed sense of touch, video games that allow you to feel hits and computer programs that teach you the movements of a sport. By researching these areas — as well as applications in stroke rehabilitation and assistance for the blind — Katherine seeks to improve our understanding of touch and uncover new opportunities to use it in interactions between humans, computers and machines.

She graduated from Stanford University. She started as assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2010, Katherine has been named to the Popular Science Brilliant 10. She is also an avid photographer, and played volleyball at Stanford for two seasons.

The future of touch screens in USA

As we are used to communicate by screens and keyboards a lot of the perception of the world misses the real touch. No matter that the surface of smartphones‘ touchscreen always feels the same. No matter if we look at dog, a mountain, a tree, a baby, a cake, the usual playing cats or a volcano. All we can feel with our hands is a touchscreen.

Without the representation of the haptic experience, a lot of perceptions cannot be appreciated. Have a look at this inspiring TED talk by Katherine J. Kuchenbecker about the technology of touch to see how innovative technology can leverage the sensations the world produces on our skin and how our bodies orient on them.

Learn about the field of haptics, and how it could change everything from the way we shop online to how dentists learn the telltale feel of a cavity. Maybe these ideas will be the basis for touchscreen that really let us touch the world.

Virtual reality you can touch in Europe

Researchers at the Computer Vision Lab at ETH Zurich have also developed a method with which they can produce virtual copies of real objects. The copies can be touched and even sent via the Internet. By incorporating the sense of touch, the user can delve deeper into virtual reality.

VirtualTouch

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About olivierlehe

Passion for Innovations

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