Long distance may not mean much to relationships if a new hologram machine has its way.
Potentially, it’ll allow you to reach out and “touch” anyone, anywhere — consensually, of course.
The Haptoclone machine, developed by researchers at the Shinoda-Makino Lab at the University of Tokyo, is a test device that allows people to “touch” holographic images and receive tactile feedback. It’s made of two boxes: one is the input (where you place an object), the other is the output (where a “haptic” hologram of that same object appears).
The current system employs some cool tech: like two Aerial Imaging Plates (AIPs) that reconstruct floating images symmetrically and an Airborne Ultrasound Tactile Display (AUTD) that measures contact between the real object and the cloned floating image to create “pressure fields.” According to a video by the researchers, an object in one box is “optically” copied in 3D and its kinetic behavior is reconstructed in the other by using converged ultrasound.
Haptoclone from Shinoda-Makino Lab3:44
During a recent test run, a writer at Gizmodo said she and a friend were able to “do a modified handshake and high-five.” An editor at Motherboard suggested he felt “strange bubble-like sensations” when shaking a holographic hand.
According to Quartz, the Haptoclone’s spectrum for tactile feedback is (unsurprisingly) very limited (think akin to lightly stroking an object). For something more tactile, they suggest trying a new scuba-like Teslasuit, which can deliver a “virtual hug,” a KOR-FX haptic vest aimed at gamers or this sonar glove that allows you to “touch” out-of-reach objects underwater.
But let’s look at the long game: beyond the potential scientific breakthroughs, we see, ahem, “enhanced” video chat as a more mainstream application.