Research to boost ultrasonic haptics

April 02, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Research to boost ultrasonic haptics
 Ultraleap is working with University College London (UCL) to further develop ultrasonic acoustic technology to ‘feel’, ‘hear’ and ‘see’ virtual 3D objects and holograms.

The project, one of the UK government’s ‘prosperity partnerships’, aims to demonstrate Ultraleap’s ultrasonic technology in interactive mid-air applications such as VR training simulators, novel user interfaces in cars, digital signage and interactive kiosks.

Bristol, UK-based Ultraleap is already supplying mid-air haptic interfaces that reduce driver distraction in cars by enabling buttons, dials and other controls to find the driver who could hold their hand out and feel the buttons to change the audio, answer a phone call or check the navigation.

“Inspired by swarm-robotics and 5G innovations, our partnership aims to achieve breakthroughs in sound-field control and distributed platform architectures,” said Dr Orestis Georgiou, Director of Research at Ultraleap. “In effect, these advancements will help establish us as leaders in spatial computing and human-computer user interfaces, but will also open up new applications for our company to explore.”

A key member of the project will be Sriram Subramanian, the Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies on novel interactive systems at UCL. He is a co-founder of Ultrahaptics as Professor of Human-computer Interaction at the University of Bristol and before that he was senior scientist at Philips Research Labs in Netherlands.

Subramanian and his researcher Tom Carter co-founded Ultrahaptics to develop ultrasonic haptics technology and acquired US hand tracking pioneer Leapmotion in 2019. It has been using the hand tracking technology for touchfree terminals that are in demand during the Covoid-19 pandemic.

"Our combined technologies have the opportunity to be at the global epicentre of spatial interaction,” said Steve Cliffe, CEO of Ultraleap. “We are building a company to support the changes between human and machine interaction that will define the 21st Century. Together, our products have the opportunity to be at the global epicentre of spatial interaction.”;

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