8 next-gen haptic technologies that will let you feel-up the Web

This conversation will surely go to a place we did not mean it to, but we'll give it a whirl: Did you ever wish you could get more intimate with the Internet? We spend so much time in the virtual space, but only explore it with two senses. Kind of a pity for a species that experiences so much through touch.

Researchers around the world are developing various forms of haptic technologies that will further merge the tactile and the digital. Why should we settle for some silly virtual Facebook "poke," when we could be literally poking our friends from anywhere in the world?

The 1970s saw the first vibrating beepers (kids, ask your parents or see early-'90s rap videos) that converted data into physical sensation. This primordial buzzy tech evolved little as it found its way into our current crop of smartphones and game controllers. But untargeted vibrating gadgets only hint at what haptics have to offer. To that end, we present eight promising technologies that will further plug our mortal coils into The Matrix.

These tactile gadgets may one day be seen as a stop-gap before The Singularity comes and our brains connect directly to computers where we experiences sensations from phantom limbs we never even knew existed. But, in the mean time, here's some cool tech that allow us to smack, prod, and pinch the digital world. (And vice versa.)

Poke the gallery below to get rolling. Bonus if you're tapping on a touchscreen.

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