Form-changing floors? Why, that'd do quite nicely on a holodeck, we imagine. A team at Canada's McGill University in Montreal has developed a flooring system that can look, feel and sound like surfaces such as sand, snow, grass or even pebbles.
Here's how it works, according to the Technology Review:
The modular "haptic" floor tiling system is made up of a deformable plate suspended on a platform. Between the plate and platform are sensors that detect forces from the user's foot. And the plate can give off vibrations that mimic the feeling of stepping on different materials. A top-down projection and speakers add visual and audio feedback.
The floor has a variety of uses according to the researchers behind it, as it could be used to make virtual reality programs far more immersive, or even find its way into a giant touch interface, providing various levels of haptic feedback to the user.