Are phones with haptic feedback in our future?

Can we do away with a keypad and just squeeze our phones to check messages and dial contacts? [Sidhant Gupta] has been researching the idea of an electronically adjustable spring mechanism that might just make this possible. He calls the prototype above the SqueezeBlock. If you pick it up and give it a squeeze you can feel springs pushing back against your fingers, but it’s all a trick. Inside you’ll find one motor with a gear that converts the linear motion into a rotating force. Attached to the same axle as that gear are a motor and a rotary encoder. A microcontroller monitors that encoder to detect a user squeezing the two plates together, then drives the motor to vary the resistance. [Sidhant] outlines some possible uses that included stiffer resistence as unread email starts to pile up, or squeezing the device to its smallest size to turn the ringer volume all the way down.

We’re a little skeptical of this functionality in handhelds just because of the power consumption issue. But if that is somehow overcome we think this would make a pretty interesting phone feature… at least at first. Click through the link above for a video demonstration or get the details from the research presentation (PDF)

[Thanks Dan]

Haptic feedback joystick uses air muscles

[Ben Krasnow] is working on a force-feedback joystick. It centers around the concept of an air muscle which transfers pressure into linear motion. He cites another air muscle project as part of the inspiration in his build, but where he’s gone with it is one of the better uses for these blow-up components that we’ve seen.

Basically you have a bladder, in this case rubber tubing. A mesh surrounds it to reinforce the material and cause inflation to shorten the length of the package. In the image above there are four black air muscles that connect the base of a joystick with the outer frame that houses it. How and when each muscle is pressurized determines the type of motion the user will feel on the joystick. This is where his pressure controller comes into play. It uses a voltage-to-pressure transducer to feed a manifold, the combination of which not only makes each muscle addressable but allows him to dial in the force sent to the muscles. Check out the video after the break for his start-to-finish walk through.

[Read more...]

Headpiece Jabbing for Smiles


[Lauren] has created a facial conditioning device dubbed the Happiness Hat. The hat measures a sensor at the wearer’s cheek to determine if the wearer is smiling. When the hat does detects the wearer is not smiling, it activates a servo that prods the wearer. This project is fairly unique in that it provides haptic bio-feedback of what the body is doing, a similar project to the Happillow. While the Happiness Hat seems to work for treating the outward symptoms of unhappiness, this is but an early step towards the droud.

Haptic Halluc 2

We can not express the childlike glee that we experienced watching this video. We want so badly to have one of these setups. What you are seeing is a half dome projected cockpit with two haptic controllers in the style of a delta robot. This is controlling the Halluc robot which is a hybrid wheeled octopod. The dome can and has been done at home fairly simply, and we suspect that you guys could come up with some similar delta controllers. So who wants to build one and donate it to hackaday?

[via BotJunkie]

Punchy Punchout, improved

[Sam] submitted this fun project, a Punchout interface that you actually punch. If you recall, we’ve done a Punchout interface that you punch, but this one takes it a step further. Instead of being a blob on a desk that you’re mashing around, the new one is a Slam Man boxing dummy. They’ve mounted the buttons on different areas of the dummy so you can punch him to completely control the game. As you can see in the video, it seems to work ok, though we doubt the buttons will hold up very long under those conditions. They do say that this is just to hold them over till the Wii version, so maybe those buttons will last just long enough.

Haptic compass


[eric], inspired by this Wired article, built his own haptic compass. Named “the clown belt”, it is a belt with 12 little vibrating motors mounted evenly all around. A digital compass vibrates whichever motor is closest to north at all times. This basically gives the owner an extra sense.  He doesn’t go much into his own experiences, but the Wired article mentions “dreaming in north” and feeling strange once they finally removed it. Precise direction senses may not be super power worthy, but they would be cool.

[thanks cnelson]

Nokia Haptikos patent application reveals its technology

We’ve been waiting for more information on the Nokia Haptikos, the haptic feedback touchscreen announced last October and largely forgotten until now. We knew that it would be a device that could raise sections
of its touchscreen to simulate the feel of buttons or keys, we just weren’t sure how Nokia would pull that off.
Now we have a better idea, as Nokia’s recent patent filing for the Haptikos gives away some juicy details.

The secret behind the device’s feedback is a “plurality of closely spaced voltage controllable protuberances,” or in other words, several small fluid filled compartments just under the screen’s surface. Under them are several piezoelectric members that can be controlled independently; when they extend upward, they apply pressure to the fluid compartments, raising the surface of the screen in that area.

Nokia has yet to work out all the kinks, but you can see the parts that do work by downloading the Haptikos patent application (PDF file).

[via Engadget]


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