Touch Technology

By Valigra, Lori | The Christian Science Monitor, July 24, 2003 | Go to article overview

Touch Technology


Valigra, Lori, The Christian Science Monitor


Imagine stepping into a game booth outfitted with sensors that enable you to feel what it's like to walk on the surface of Mars. Or, turning on your computer to see live video of your new grandchild across the country and being able, by wearing gloves with special sensors, to feel you're actually touching the baby.

Scientists are in the early stages of research that could lead to applications that will literally take the Internet out of this world and make it more intimate for users through the sense of touch.

For example, researchers at the University of Buffalo in New York recently developed an experimental glove that can send the sense of touch over the Internet. While its functions still are limited, its creators hope it could one day be used to let designers, sculptors, or doctors in distant locations collaborate.

At the same time, scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are expanding network and sensing technologies so that eventually planets and a variety of devices in space can communicate with one another, with astronomers on Earth, and even with consumers in both educational and game settings.

Reach out and touch someone

"As far as we know, our technology is the only way a person can communicate to another person the sense of touch," says Thenkurussi Kesavadas, director of the University of Buffalo's Virtual Reality Lab.

Known as "sympathetic haptics" because it gives one person the ability to feel what another feels, the technology is still years away from being able to transmit the feeling of Tiger Woods's golf swing to another person, for instance.

Now, Dr. Kesavadas and his team are able to transmit the sensation of touching a soft or hard object, and the contour of certain shapes. They accomplished this by using a special glove with sensors in a thimble-like device at the tip of the fingers.

It is linked by hardware and software between two personal computers via the Internet, so touch data, converted into sophisticated mathematical algorithms, can be transmitted from one person feeling an object to a person at another computer.

Kesavadas likens the technological advance to guiding a child's hand in writing.

"If I hold a child by the hand and move it, I'm merely dragging the hand," he said. "But I'm not teaching writing, because I'm not relaying an understanding of the force needed to write down something. With our technology, you can do and feel, which leads to learning. That's a crucial difference."

He added that touch is relayed more quickly to the brain than hearing or sight. For example, a person standing in a crowd is likely to respond faster to a tap on the shoulder than to someone's voice. So far, however, visual and audio have been used more often on computers, partly because capturing and processing data on the sense of touch is more difficult.

Although sophisticated applications of Internet touch are years away, Kesavadas expects simpler applications to appear in the game industry in three to four years. "There's no reason why someone couldn't make a game in a few years that would cost $400 to $500," he says - about double the cost of today's most popular electronic games. "I also can think of one day when a child might be able to 'reach' out of a computer and touch his or her parents," he says. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Touch Technology
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.