There is a general consensus among the scientific community that the next level of immersion in personal devices, such as Mobile Phones, PC’s, Laptops and Tablets requires a tightly integrated tactile experience. The amount of research being carried out by big tech companies for this end is a testimony to this fact.
The pressure to be the first one to give a truly integrated and immersive tactile experience can be felt the most in the gaming industry. The market seems ready to incorporate new age devices that can give auditory, visual and immersive tactile experience in the games.
The latest attempt for this aim is by Disney who came up with “Aireal”. An Airblown technology that give users tactile feedback through puffs of air blown through 3D printed maneuverable nozzles. This takes away the need to wear anything during the gaming experience.
These devices can simulate for the gamer, tactile experiences generated by computer games. Hence we can expect in future that they feel a thud on their body when they face bullets in the game or a light touch of air when a butterfly flaps through their avatar in the virtual world.
The possibilities are limitless and so are the challenges. “Aireal” is a grounded device so the work space is limited. Improvising it for multiplayer experiences and for variable ambient conditions will be a challenge for the researchers.
However, it is an innovation in the right direction from which only good can be expected.
The researchers from Disney Research have a whole page dedicated to this project which can be reached here.
This includes the demonstration, the built and the concept of the device. Also included in this resource is their published research paper regarding this project.