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Queen's U Project To Render 'Touch Over IP'

Researchers at Northern Ireland's Queens University are working on a project to approximate the sensation of touch via the Internet.

Professor Alan Marshal and a team at the university's Institute of Electronics, Communications, and Information Technology (ECIT) are trying to simulate the sense of touch through a combination of mechanisms to transmit force, vibration, and motion.

Aside from all the obvious titillating applications, the resulting "haptic" technology would also enable individuals to feel a pair of jeans before they buy them or to give the visually impaired a better way to interact with the Web.

"If we are to enter the 'second age' of the Internet, then it must be able to support multimodal communication, including additional senses," said Marshall. "Take the Nintendo Wii as an example. It has already revolutionized gaming without players having the ability to receive any touch-related feedback. Imagine what it would be like if we could select to play a virtual character based on Roger Federer and feel every impact of his serve, in real time."

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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