Feature Writer Ann Chiapetta – The Science of Touch

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece in the Ziegler about shoes equipped with haptic GPS technology. The shoes would vibrate signals to the user, providing information while walking to a location.

This got me wondering, what is haptic technology and how is it used today?

According to Wikipedia, “Haptic technology, or haptics, is a tactile feedback technology which takes advantage of the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations, or motions to the user.” The origin of the word haptics is the Greek haptikos, meaning able to grasp or perceive. Haptic sensations are created in many consumer devices with tiny motors that create vibrations. Think of the game controller that vibrates during game play, simulating the feel of gun shots.

Haptics are also used in other ways. For instance, tactile vibrations are given to the surgeon when implanting pacemakers. There are so many possibilities for haptics to enhance the world for the blind and the vision impaired. And this is just the beginning.

To read more about how haptics are used, go to: http://www.immersion.com/haptics-technology/what-is-haptics/

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