The engineers at the University of Bristol have yet again came up with state-of-the-art technology—the Haptic Arm.
In order to understand the importance of this research, first, you would have to get familiar with the recent advancements in virtual reality. The latter has been quite a popular technology for a couple of years now. Be it high-resolution movies, immersive gaming or educational stimulation, virtual reality has successfully penetrated into all valued industries. It opened a door to an alternative dimension, as people just lose track of time and space using it. With time, virtual reality has been developing to make its experience more immersive, and Haptic Arm is an important link the long chain.
Haptic Arm stimulates touch, and allows you to interact with the 3D world in a whole new way. So far, machines have mainly been reliant on only sense: hearing and sight. Haptic Arm with its force feedback mechanism would allow you to unleash the power of touch. You would not only touch a computer, but the opposite will also be a reality.
Suppose you are performing a simulated surgery, and the sense of touching the veins raises the stakes and makes you more considerate of minute details. Or, you are playing a racing game, and you can actually feel getting yourself the impact, though watered-down, of crashing your vehicle into another. With Haptic Arm you can touch and feel virtual objects, and thus you immerse yourself both visually and physically in an alternative dimension.
Bristols’ ingenious team of engineers has named their haptic arm, Mantis, and it truly symbolizes the insect for being lightweight. Also, it is the most affordable and accessible haptic force feedback.
Mantis is poised to make a room into the consumer market as it is well in the reach of individuals who lack the expertise to use them. It costs less than other high-fidelity equivalents, is easy to assemble, and has remarkable aesthetics.
The User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) conference has been taking place in New Orleans, and the lead scientists behind the project are there to present the Mantis.
Gareth Barnaby, one of the pioneers, has expressed his excitement in the following words:
“We will be giving out the plans to allow anyone to build a Mantis, because we are keen to make force feedback devices more widespread and not confined to research labs, we are also looking to produce some easy to build kits as well as pre-built versions that we will make available on the website.”
Project Mantis is garnering support from all those who are willing to help. It heralds of a new exciting future, and will soon become integrated into the VR.