The growth of haptic technology in various applications is creating a more immersive experience in fields such as gaming, science and prosthetics. Paul Budde reports.
OVER THE LAST few months, I have written articles about 5G, 6G (2030s) and even 7G (2040s). In my research of these articles, I increasingly have come across the use of haptic technologies. So I started to look into the relationship between haptic technology and new mobile technologies.
Already 5G and even more so, 6G and 7G, offer higher data rates and lower latency than previous generations of wireless technology. This makes them ideal for applications that require real-time communication, such as haptic feedback.
Haptic feedback is the use of touch to create a more immersive experience. It can be used in a variety of applications such as gaming, virtual reality and telepresence. 5G and 6G can provide the high data rates and low latency that are required for haptic feedback to be used in these applications.
There are a number of different haptic technologies available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Some of the most common haptic technologies include:
- Vibration motors: These motors vibrate to create a sense of touch. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, but they can be limited in terms of the range of sensations they can provide.
- Linear actuators: These actuators move back and forth to create a sense of force. They are more expensive than vibration motors, but they can provide a wider range of sensations.
- Haptic gloves: These gloves use a combination of vibration motors and actuators to create a more realistic sense of touch. They are the most expensive type of haptic technology, but they can provide the most immersive experience.
The latest developments in haptic technology are focused on making it more affordable, more immersive and more accurate.
Some of the most promising new developments include:
- Membrane haptics: This technology uses a thin membrane to create a sense of touch. It is less expensive than traditional haptic technologies and can be used in a wider range of applications.
- Electrotactile feedback: This technology uses electrical stimulation to create a sense of touch. It is more accurate than traditional haptic technologies and can be used to create a wider range of sensations.
- Brain-computer interfaces: This technology allows users to control haptic devices with their minds. It is still in the early stages of development, but it has the potential to revolutionise the way we interact with haptic technology.
As 5G and 6G continue to develop, they will become more widely used for haptic feedback applications. This will make haptic feedback more accessible and affordable, and it will open up new possibilities for haptic feedback in a variety of different industries.
Here are some of the ways that haptic technology is being used:
- Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR): Haptic feedback is being used to create more realistic and immersive VR and AR experiences. For example, haptic feedback can be used to simulate the feeling of walking on different surfaces, driving a car or flying a plane.
- Telepresence: Haptic feedback is being used to create more realistic and engaging telepresence experiences. For example, haptic feedback can be used to simulate the feeling of shaking hands, hugging someone or petting a dog.
- Haptic keyboards: Haptic keyboards use vibrations to simulate the feeling of typing on a physical keyboard. This can be helpful for people who are using a touchscreen device, as it can make it easier to type accurately and quickly.
- Haptic feedback for gaming: Haptic feedback is often used in gaming to provide players with a more immersive experience. For example, a racing game might use haptic feedback to simulate the feeling of driving over bumps in the road or the wind blowing through the player's hair.
- Prosthetics: Haptic technology is being used to develop more realistic and functional prosthetics. For example, some prosthetic hands can now feel the texture of objects that they are touching.
As 5G and 6G continue to develop, haptic technology is likely to become more widely used in a variety of other applications. This will make haptic technology more accessible and affordable, and it will open up new possibilities for haptic technology in a variety of different industries.
Paul Budde is an Independent Australia columnist and managing director of Paul Budde Consulting, an independent telecommunications research and consultancy organisation. You can follow Paul on Twitter @PaulBudde.
Support independent journalism Subscribe to IA.