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The University of Southampton

Haptics: Tactile sensory feedback

Immersive virtual interfaces

HAWK: Hand and Wrist Kinematics

Haptics is a feedback technology that mimics the sense of touch by applying stimuli, such as pressure, temperature and vibration to the user. The ability not only to 'see' a virtual environment but also to 'feel' it, would be a significant advance in interactive technology, with enormous commercial potential in various markets, including immersive gaming, patient rehabilitation and interactive training and simulations.

Haptics devices that mimic the sense of touch were initially developed for use with people recovering from stroke by a research team led by Dr Cheryl Metcalf at the University of Southampton. The team developed a number of devices using feedback from users throughout the design process. On completion, this work attracted interest from industry, and currently Dr Metcalf is collaborating with Morgan Innovation & Technology Ltd; (MIAT) a local SME based in Petersfield, on further development.

In conjunction with the University of Southampton, MIAT has developed an innovative haptic system for the hand that will provide individuals with a sense of touch. When combined with virtual reality (VR)technology, it allows users to see and feel the specific motion and action they are performing.

HAWK: Hand and Wrist Kinematics

Technology roadmap

2009: Haptics were developed at the University of Southampton in a research team led by Dr Cheryl Metcalf

2011: Market analysis award – TSB

2013: Smart Proof of Concept – Innovate UK

Collaboration opportunity

Haptics have already been applied to clinical studies for rehabilitation with people recovering from stroke. Our collaborator, MIAT, is developing similar devices for distribution in the commercial gaming industry. We are looking for partners to exploit this technology in training and simulation in the military and aviation sectors.

If you would like to know more please contact Dr Cheryl Metcalf

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