• 01.10.14

People Are Getting Buzzed On These New Haptic Feedback Devices

Sure, curved displays and touchscreens are nice–but here are five devices that rely primarily on touch feedback.

People Are Getting Buzzed On These New Haptic Feedback Devices
[Image: Flickr user Jean-Raphaël Guillaumin]

1. The Anti-Watch

Why look down at your watch when you can just be buzzed when it’s time to break for lunch? This haptic hack was created to notify you of the time in traditional clock format but with a nontraditional twist. At each hour the watch gives off a long vibration while one to three pulses signal 15-minute increments. A small protoboard, vibration motor, coin cell battery and push button were used in the making of this faceless watch, suggesting that future smart watches could use modes other than just visual and auditory to communicate feedback with users.


2. Finger Feedback

On Wednesday, PC gaming giant Valve let CES attendees play with its new gaming controller called Steam Machine, which features haptic feedback. While this might seem like an obvious feature choice for a game controller, Valve has creatively implemented the feedback beneath the controller’s dual material-fitted, mouse-like finger pads enabling users to feel rolling under the thumbs. Kotaku describes the surface as being like two tiny turntables. The controller reportedly holds the highest bandwidth haptic information channel on the market.

3. Haptic Headset

Now gamers can get the feel of subwoofers with the Mad Catz haptic headset. Haptic technology company, ViviTouch, broke down the components that create its unique haptic feedback at CES this week. The company replaces traditional motors used in haptic feedback with electro-active polymers, which take less power and offers more precise vibrations. Its actuator technology gives the haptic feedback a simulated feeling of being next to big speakers, sans the ear damage.

4. Sense a Pose

Ever wonder if you’re stretching correctly? Tech company Artefact is using haptic feedback in clothes such as this Pilates shirt, which is composed of four sensors that monitor stretching and provide haptic feedback to modify the user’s upper body positions. Artefact design director Jennifer Darmour spoke at CES about the Pilates shirt and living up to the term “wearable.” “Now that we are taking technology and putting it onto our body, we must ask how we can use the body as the interface for connecting to a larger network of things,” Darmour says.

5. Baby Got Hap

Now you can prevent upper back pain with a tiny, hidden wearable sensor made by Lumo BodyTech. The easily concealable back sensor can be clipped onto your shirt and gives a soft vibration when it senses your upper body is out of alignment. The company’s app shows you visual data of your habits so you can monitor posture progress.