Massachusetts Patent of the Month – November 2021
Software and hardware engineers work together to make interactions between the user and the device as responsive as possible. For instance, when you click a mouse or swipe your finger across your screen, you want the device to respond properly and timely. These interactions have evolved over time and continue to evolve. The latest interactivities are focused on creating “real-world” touch in virtual reality (VR) devices. The virtual object you will interact with needs to “feel” like its natural self. If you are holding a ceramic mug in VR, it should feel distinct from its surroundings. This is a tall order for any engineer.
Tactai, Inc. is focused on bringing this experience to life. They have worked on developing a patented Dynamic Haptics platform to engage the human sense of touch and bring the real world into the digital world. Their recent advancements include a touch enabling process, haptic accessory, and a core haptic engine to support this venture.
Touch enablement is accomplished through software development by integrating rich haptic properties as the graphics and visual effects are rendered. For larger-scale haptic applications, a touch enablement platform (TEP) provides the required tools for automatic detection and identification of objects in videos, images, and games. This requires advanced AI technology combined with computer vision algorithms. This allows the upload of photos and videos, the detection of everyday objects, and the tagging of each object with textures. A core haptic engine (CHE) enables a touch interface device to deliver these haptic experiences. The user could then experience natural tactile sensations with just their fingertip using haptic actuators on the interface. With technology like this, we take a step closer and closer to real-time touch-enable experiences and improved VR applications.
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