Chapter 3. Tactile Sensations

This next wave of Augmented Reality (AR) explores creating new sensorial experiences that include the other senses beyond just vision. Touch in AR has the possibility to not only synchronize what we see with how something feels, it has the potential of creating new ways to communicate using tactility. From the “taptic engine” in the Apple Watch providing subtle tap feedback for things like notifications, to new types of haptic handheld controllers being designed for Virtual Reality (VR) applications, like those by Tactical Haptics to bring new levels of realism to VR, we’re beginning to see a trend toward digital tactility.

In the physical world, you can use your hands to touch something, pick something up, or make something. In AR, the virtual appears to exist in your physical space, but if you reach your hand out to touch a virtual object, depending on whether you’re using a smartphone or eyewear, you will either feel glass or thin air.

In Chapter 1, registration was referenced as a way to seamlessly align virtual objects in three-dimensional (3-D) space in the real world. Registration in AR is currently focused on visual alignment, but what about the other senses? If one of the goals of AR is to provide a seamless environment, this perception becomes shattered when the user attempts to touch the virtual, and is left feeling nothing. This next wave of AR makes touching the virtual possible, further blurring our ability to distinguish between the ...

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