So, okay. It’s possible that feeling up a virtual hottie is not quite what the designers of this incredible haptic interface had in mind. But c’mon: this is the internet! Dirty thoughts come first; practical thoughts come later.
Still, now that we’ve gotten that out the way, as the above video shows, this complex combination of robotic levers and sensors was created to allow its user to ‘feel’ what it’s like to hold a virtual object, conveying dimension and even weight.
So you could see where my mind went with this. Ahem.
But the actual uses for a system like this include conveying skilled techniques to workers in a factory or “operating humanoid robots via a network”. Because nothing could possibly go wrong with that.
Jokes aside though, this blending of the virtual and the physical holds much promise. In the past, ‘hands-on’ experience has always meant dealing with material things – which in fields like medical is obviously a risky and costly proposition in more ways than one. Technology like this lets people gain some real-world physical skills without actually touching real things.
Still, when describing various possible use cases, perhaps the scientician in the video could have picked a better example than ‘well, ya’ know, breast exams still require a tactile component’. That’s not helping anyone’s perception of this, dude.