AnthroTronix's glove allows the wearer to control objects such as robots and video games with hand motions.
A group of American soldiers is on patrol in hostile territory. Suddenly, the squad leader realizes they’ve stumbled onto the edge of what may be a minefield and quickly gives a hand signal to halt. His troops don’t have to be watching him or even be able to see him to get his signal: They feel it as a vibration in a special belt or vest they’re wearing. Using a different set of hand signals, the leader then directs an unmanned robotic vehicle to investigate the possible mines, keeping his fighters out of harm’s way.
This futuristic scenario may not be far off. The battlefield is fast becoming a high-tech arena. But as soldiers use technology to gain a better understanding of their surroundings, they also risk being overloaded with information.
That’s where “haptics,” or tactile feedback technology, comes in. Fighters’ eyes and ears are being bombarded by data, not only the sights and sounds of the battlefield but information from audio and video sources. Rather than overwhelming the eyes and ears, haptics taps into a different sense. For example, it can collect data through motion controls or relay information through vibration.
Consumer products such as Apple’s iPhone and Nintendo’s Wii game controller have already adopted haptics, using sensors called accelerometers to pick up on spins, shakes, and button presses, then they respond with a buzz or vibration.
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