With virtual reality once again in focus, it’s hard to avoid thinking about the 4th dimension of entertainment, which is sensory. The ability to feel our way through our environment is one of the most vital aspects of being human. Without sensibility, the world wouldn’t be what it is today. Now that we have incorporated 3D into pretty much every aspect of our lives, we might as well take the next step. The discovery of tactile sensation might be one of the most important discoveries yet.
The tactile sensation discovery is based on a cross-model perception technology and has been developed by Professor Takashi Kawai’s lab at Waseda University‘s School of Fundamental Science and Engineering. It’s a technology that is mind boggling enough to understand, and experiencing it might even be harder to comprehend. The whole tactile sensation experience is achieved by the visual stimulation of employing multi-sensory integration. Basically what this means is that through stimulating a person’s visual sense, he or she can experience a slight increase in heat, cold or wind for example.
It’s a breakthrough that could very well change the gaming and entertainment industry forever. So far, the technology only allows for a mild tactile sensation, but research is in high gear in order to make the impact even more impressive. By displaying a burning orb with the help of a pair of transparent virtual reality glasses, users feel a slight increase in warmth when they put they hands underneath it, simulating holding it.
It’s almost science fiction, but in time, this could yield a whole new field of technology that we have just touched the boundaries of so far. Further research could fine-tune this discovery, but the research group has already discovered that the participants perceived tactile sensation merely through displaying video content of different kinds of sense stimulation sources. I guess it’s safe to say that in the future we’ll experience entertainment, games and maybe even online content in a whole new way than what we are used to now. It all depends on how far tactile sensation research is able to push the senses.