Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

'Touching' new internet research at Queen's University Belfast

30.08.2007
A future where online shoppers can feel the products they want to buy and where people playing interactive games can immediately feel the force of an impact is getting closer, thanks to research being carried out at Queen’s University.

Researchers at the Belfast-based university are currently undertaking a new technology study which has the potential to add the sense of touch to virtual worlds.

In addition to opening up a whole array of new opportunities for industries such as electronic gaming, the new technology also promises to permit blind and visually impaired people to access the internet in a way they cannot currently.

At present, major online networks can only carry information relating to two senses, aural and visual. Now, Professor Alan Marshall and his colleagues in the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen’s are to spend the next three years working on new network architectures to support the addition of other senses, particularly that of ‘touch’.

Known as haptic technology, such systems interface the user via the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations and/or motions to the user. This mechanical stimulation is used to create haptic virtual objects in a haptic virtual environment.

At present, almost all haptic devices are only capable of being connected to a single stand-alone system. Professor Marshall and his partners, including BT (UK), Immersion (USA) and HandshakeVR (Canada), hope to develop networks to increase the user’s immersion in a virtual environment by allowing them not only to see but also to touch the environment around them. It is hoped users will also be able to share these sensations with fellow users in numerous locations. The study will also aim to overcome the challenge of maintaining a consistent view of the shared information in the face of inevitable network delays and variable bandwidth.

Queen’s University already has a world first in the area of haptic technology, having performed the first long distance tele-haptic coloration over the internet in conjunction with British Telecom’s research lab in Ipswich in 2003.

Speaking about his hopes for the new study, Professor Marshall, who is principal investigator of the project, said: “If we are to enter the ‘second age’ of the internet, then it must be able to support multimodal communication, including additional senses. Queen’s University is a forerunner in the global race to introduce the necessary new architectures and networks capable of carrying such information.

“We are already leading a new project entitled ENABLED concerning the delivery of web content to blind and visually impaired and the potential applications made possible by the architectures coming out of this new study will be huge.

“Take the Nintendo Wii as an example. It has already revolutionised gaming without players having the ability to receive any touch-related feedback. Imagine what it would be like if we could select to play a virtual character based on Roger Federer and feel every impact of his serve, in real time.”

Lisa Mitchell | alfa
Further information:
http://www.qub.ac.uk

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans
16.01.2017 | University of Southern California

nachricht Fraunhofer FIT announces CloudTeams collaborative software development platform – join it for free
10.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>