A mid-air tactile feedback technology called Aerohaptics may make it possible to shake hands in the Metaverse; presumably, kissing is still a way off, though.
The thing about the Metaverse is that it just creates an illusion of proximity. It might seem like you are in the same room as someone physically on the other side of the planet, but you know it is just pretend. But suppose you could also touch someone; wouldn't that make a difference? For all we know, everything is an illusion anyway, of course. What we see with our eyes is not necessarily a true reflection of the object we view; rather, it is created by our brain — by synapses creating an awareness that may not be real. So, if the Metaverse looks real, sounds real, and now feels real, maybe it is as real as, well as that which we call reality.
"As virtual environments find more applications in today's world, haptic feedback devices have potential to integrate with virtual reality systems and contribute to a more immersive and interactive user experience," states a paper by Adamos Christou, Radu Chirila, Ravinder Dahiya.
According to the paper, the solution is "an air-based haptic feedback device, named Aerohaptics." The device delivers "mid-air tactile feedback while the user is manipulating virtual objects within a pseudo-holographic display," or so they say.
The paper says: "aerohaptic feedback system uses jets of air directed on the user's hand to replicate the sense of touch when manipulating a virtual object….
"A single air nozzle…can direct the air jets toward the user's hands. The articulation of the mechanism, combined with the accuracy of the hand-tracking device, allows for the nozzle to be pointed toward specific locations of the user's hand, i.e., a finger or a palm. Pressurized air is supplied via a conventional air compressor."
The paper continues: "the user attempts to bounce a holographic basketball, they will be met with an aerohaptic feedback proportional to the amount of force they would 'perceive' when bouncing a ball, and dependent on the total travel of the holographic ball. For this reason, the user will be able to feel the topology of the ball (exact positioning in the holographic space), the nature of the interaction (hard bounce, soft bounce) and feel the ball bouncing back through aerohaptic feedback."
So that's touch sorted. All we need now is smell and taste.
Wait: a company that describes itself as a Metaverse startup claims it can introduce bio-aromatics or smell into virtual reality.
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