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by Paula Bernstein
October 14, 2013 5:01 PM
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Watch: Disney Research Develops New 3D Tactile Features: Are Touch TV and Film Far Off?

Disney researchers have developed a new technology which allows viewers to feel what they are watching on a screen by simulating textures. Could "textured" television and TV be far off?

The tactile rendering of 3D features on touch surfaces lets you "feel" texture on a screen. "Our brain perceives the 3D bump on a surface mostly from information that it receives via skin stretching,” said Ivan Poupyrev, who directs Disney Research, Pittsburgh's Interaction Group, in a statement. "Therefore, if we can artificially stretch skin on a finger as it slides on the touch screen, the brain will be fooled into thinking an actual physical bump is on a touch screen even though the touch surface is completely smooth." 

Disney Research, Pittsburgh researchers recently presented their findings at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology in St Andrews, Scotland.

"Touch interaction has become the standard for smartphones, tablets and even desktop computers, so designing algorithms that can convert the visual content into believable tactile sensations has immense potential for enriching the user experience," said Poupryev. "We believe our algorithm will make it possible to render rich tactile information over visual content and that this will lead to new applications for tactile displays."

This video shows you how it works (but unless you have a PhD., you still might not fully understand it):


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