What is Haptic Feedback?
Haptic feedback administers the use of sense of touch of the user and responds with vibrational outputs and distinct wave-forms as a sort of acknowledgement that the capacitive touch screen of your device has been interacted with. This makes up for the absence of a tactile response provided to the user when he/she would press a physical button on a regular keyboard or mouse and various other output devices.
Is haptic feedback similar to regular vibrating alerts?? NO! – The complexity of the vibrational responses, as illustrated below, is what distinguishes between the two
Steve jobs’ mantra has forever been to innovate and that ideology has become Apple’s code ever since. Enter the 3D interface deployed in the new Apple devices.What started out as a basic vibration feedback of our interactions with the user interface, haptic feedback has and will continue to redefine what it means to interact with our devices. Haptic feedback uses taptic engines built engineered into devices such as the Apple Mac-Book and produces real-time responses from the user interface depending on the force of touch applied by the user. Apple has deployed the 3D touch in their iPhone where, depending on the magnitude of force that you press an icon with displays corresponding layers of information. This gives app developers a whole new avenue to explore whereby they can incorporate so many more functionalities within their apps and the best part is the user interface would not look overcrowded as the information is displayed in layers and only made visible via live interaction with the touch screen.
Tip of the iceberg?
The world we live in today is driven by technological advancement and innovation is at the heart of this drive. Every breakthrough, especially in the world of ICT, is basically scratching the surface for there are endless possibilities of improved efficiency and better functionality. Apple’s 3D touch is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Researchers have now engineered the haptic feedback to produce more than simple vibrations and thus making the user interface of say your smartphone a lot more interactive. Imagine an on-screen keyboard where your fingers can feel the groves/spacing between letters or feel a bit of texture when you scroll through your Facebook or appear to feel application icons as being heavy or light depending on their file size. Better yet, imagine feeling a sharp tinge across your fingers when you slice the fruit in the popular smartphone game fruit ninja or feeling the tension in the slingshot whilst playing Angry Birds as you pull the helpless bird farther back on the sling. It is safe to say that the conventional methods of exchanging information will soon experience a major upgrade with all these advancements in haptic feedback.
Touch-Less Haptics : Is that even possible?
Sounds like a bit of an oxymoron if you ask me because the outlining fundamental of haptic feedback is that it is a response to a touch based interaction. However, audio giant Haman tends to disagree. The company recently rolled out some over the top defying physics like concept devices among which was a JBL L16 Bluetooth speaker which is calibrated with what they’re calling a “Leap Motion Sensor” working in synchronization with various other meticulously calibrated sensors and transmitters. So the deal is, when you place your hand above the speaker you will feel a tight, tense and concentrated puff of air – YES AIR! This artificially altered space of “air” really is a collection of ultrasonic waves that act as the feedback system. The user would maneuver his hand and depending on the gestures the ultrasonic waves would signal the speaker to turn on different modes.For instance, a mid-air tap with an outstretched hand will pause or play the song while rotating your arm would skip the playlist on to the next song. Each of these gestures generates a distinct mid-air vibration feedback so that the user knows his/her commands have been accepted.
Here is the prototype