Hold tight, cause this just might change the way you can enjoy your smart home in the future. Bristol based Ultrahaptics is a mid-air haptic start-up that aims to revolutionize the way we will interact with the devices of the future. Users can ‘feel’ touch-less buttons, get feedback for mid-air gestures or even interact with virtual objects opening up a whole new type of interface where virtual meets reality.
There are numerous ways where haptic feedback can be applied and offer real added value. In the case of the futuristic stove there is not only just the design value but also the fact that it takes away the need to touch the device. So by moving your hand above Ultrahaptics’ specially designed pad called the ultrasonic transducer array on the right side of this stove, one can control each burner independently.
The tactile interface is based on a Leap Motion sensor that tracks the location of your palm. It focuses on ultrasound waves in a particular area, and basically pushes your hand with enough force so you can experience different vibrations, textures and sensations. You cannot feel an actual knob or anything, but when you move your hand around, you feel these four areas in mid-air created through ultrasound that corresponds to the burner controls. It is a matter of turning on a burner with a simple tap in space and the system will register the action with a soft tactile explosion across your palm which is the experience of haptic feedback. You can also use slider control, a gesture that creates a bit of a buzzy feeling when you move your hand back and forth to adjust the temperature of the stove top to high or low.
Imagine what happens with the level of convenience if we won’t physically have to touch anything we would like to control. I am sure it will take a couple of years before this technology can be found in the consumer goods we buy. On this Steve Cliffe, CEO shared, “The company is engaged with Tier 1 manufacturers in multiple markets and the investment from Woodford Investment Management will allow us to fulfil this demand and address additional markets and customers. Our technology completes gesture control by re- introducing the sense of touch.”
The Bristol developer of mid-air haptic technologies, announced a Series A funding round of £10.1 million at the end of last year led by Woodford Investment Management alongside existing shareholder IP Group. Mark Reilly of IP Group commented: “We have been involved with Ultrahaptics from the very beginning and have been delighted with both the technical and commercial progress achieved to date. We are extremely excited to participate in this Series A funding and the company’s continued development.”
It is these type of developments that make us aware that maybe we no longer have to imagine how science fiction interacts with the world around us because that future is already here.