Simulating the sensation of an object passing through your hands

[From Diginfo.TV, where the story includes additional images]

Simulating The Sensation Of An Object Passing Through Your Hands

14 September 2011

The Kajimoto research group at the University of Electro-Communications is developing a device that simulates the sensation of something passing through your hand. It is proposed to improve the sense of realism in games, and uses a vibration mechanism to create the illusion.

“There is an illusion which is called a phantom sensation. This happens when two points on your skin are stimulated at the same time, and it feels as if the space between them is being touched. At our lab we thought of stimulating the palm and back of a hand at the same time, so that it feels as if an object is going through your hand.”

“Imagine that the hand on the screen is your hand, on which we have placed the phantom sensation device. We use a Wii remote control to sense the location of your hand, and you can move your hand left and right. In our demonstration, a black ball falls from the top of the screen and when that black ball falls through the hand on the screen, it activates the vibrators.”

In order to simulate the sensation of something passing through the hand, the strength of the vibrations are adjusted. Initially the upper device is strong and drops to zero, whereas the device on the bottom of the hand goes from zero to strong. This happens in a tenth of a second, and creates the feeling of the object actually dropping through the hand.

“In that way the location of the sensation travels from up to down, and it simulates a sensation of passing through the hand. We think it can be used when players in a fighting game are stabbed or something like that, a player can be given a stronger shock, or in a first person shooter, the body can be vibrated to simulate a feeling of being shot.”

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