IBM scientists are developing applications for the retail, healthcare and other sectors using haptic, infrared and pressure sensitive technologies to simulate touch, such as the texture and weave of a fabric-as a shopper brushes her finger over the image of the item on a device screen. Utilising the vibration capabilities of the phone, every object will have a unique set of vibration patterns that represents the touch experience: short fast patterns, or longer and stronger strings of vibrations. The vibration pattern will differentiate silk from linen or cotton, helping simulate the physical sensation of actually touching the material.
Current uses of haptic and graphic technology in the gaming industry take the end user into a simulated environment. The opportunity and challenge here is to make the technology so ubiquitous and inter-woven into everyday experiences that it brings greater context to our lives by weaving technology in front and around us. This technology will become ubiquitous in our everyday lives, turning mobile phones into tools for natural and intuitive interaction with the world around us.
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