Last year's reboot of the classic sci-fi adventure Total Recall fell short in terms of living up to the original, but the film did deliver some interesting visuals in the way of concept technologies. One of those technologies, a phone that you use by simply interfacing with your hand, could now become a reality thanks to a new development from a lab in Japan.
Developed at the University of Tokyo, the Airborne Ultrasound Tactile Display can project video and keyboards onto any object, such as a piece of paper or the palm or your hand, and associate visual information from the projection with actual sensations. The set-up combines an overhead projection system and ultrasonic wave emitters to achieve the effect.
What makes the system so interesting compared to previous experiments is that this version actually tracks the object the images are being projected onto, so that the user can move their hand around and keep the interface projection on target. At present, the demonstration only shows the ability to receive tactile input associated with the projections, so, at least for now, this wouldn't really work as a smartphone interface. But it is nevertheless an exciting first step toward such an interface in the future.
You can see the Airborne Ultrasound Tactile Display in action in the video gallery below.
Via New Scientist