Seeing is believing, but to have a real feeling sight is not enough. Our brain creates feeling by integrating many signals provided by our senses. Looking at a sweater on a screen is quite different from touching it and appreciating its softness…
Engaging our sense of touch is not easy but researchers have been working to create devices that can provide the sense of touch, known as haptic devices.
At Dartmouth University researchers have developed a (prototype) watch that displays images on its screen (as any other smartwatch) and creates tactile sensation on its back through pressure points on the wrist.
The rear surface of the watch consists of 16 movable squares, taxels, that can move creating a pressure on the wrist. A computer in the watch analyses the image displayed and convert them into pressure stimuli activating micro-servo motors.
They have experimented the tactile stimulation in the context of gaming and the trials indicates an increased engagement of the players thanks to the tactile simulation.