Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Touch goes digital: Electronic recording and replay of human touch demonstrated

Date:
September 6, 2013
Source:
University of California, San Diego
Summary:
Researchers report a breakthrough in technology that could pave the way for digital systems to record, store, edit and replay information in a dimension that goes beyond what we can see or hear: touch.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego report a breakthrough in technology that could pave the way for digital systems to record, store, edit and replay information in a dimension that goes beyond what we can see or hear: touch.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of California, San Diego

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego report a breakthrough in technology that could pave the way for digital systems to record, store, edit and replay information in a dimension that goes beyond what we can see or hear: touch.

"Touch was largely bypassed by the digital revolution, except for touch-screen displays, because it seemed too difficult to replicate what analog haptic devices -- or human touch -- can produce," said Deli Wang, a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) in UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering. "But think about it: being able to reproduce the sense of touch in connection with audio and visual information could create a new communications revolution."

In addition to uses in health and medicine, the communication of touch signals could have far-reaching implications for education, social networking, e-commerce, robotics, gaming, and military applications, among others. The sensors and sensor arrays reported in the paper are also fully transparent which makes it particularly interesting for touch-screen applications in mobile devices.

Wang is the senior author on a paper appearing in Nature Publishing Group's Scientific Reports, published online Aug. 28. Co-authors include 11 researchers at UC San Diego, including fellow ECE professor Truong Nguyen, and UCLA professor Qibing Pei, whose team contributed to the sections on using polymer actuators for analog reproduction of recorded touch.

The first authors of this article, Siarhei Vishniakou and Brian Lewis of UCSD and co-authors Paul Brochu and Xiaofan Niu from UCLA, received the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship (QInF) in 2012. (This project is partially supported by a Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship.)

In addition to professors Wang and Nguyen, other researchers on the project affiliated with the Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego include recent Ph.D., Ke Sun, and Namseok Park, recipients of the institute's Calit2 Strategic Research Opportunities, or CSRO, Graduate Fellowships in 2010 and in 2012, respectively.

"Our sense of touch plays a significant role in our daily lives, particularly in personal interaction, learning and child development, and that is especially true for the development of preemies," said Nguyen, another senior author of this Scientific Reports paper. "We were approached by colleagues in the UC San Diego School of Medicine's neonatology group to see if there was a way to record a session of a mother holding the baby, which could be replayed at a different time in an incubator."

In their Scientific Reports paper, the researchers reported the electronic recording of touch contact and pressure using an active-matrix pressure sensor array made of transparent zinc-oxide (ZnO), thin-film transistors (TFTs). The companion tactile feedback display used an array of diaphragm actuators made of an acrylic-based dielectric elastomer with the structure of an interpenetrating polymer network (IPN). The polymer actuators' actuation -- the force and level of displacement -- are modulated by adjusting both the voltage and charging time.

One of the critical challenges in developing touch systems is that the sensation is not one thing. It can involve the feeling of physical contact, force or pressure, hot and cold, texture and deformation, moisture or dryness, and pain or itching. "It makes it very difficult to fully record and reproduce the sense of touch," said Wang.

Tactile feedback display system and demonstration of real-time reproduction and modification of touch contact with temporal and spatial resolutions. Click on image for larger view.

As noted in the article, there has been significant progress on the development of flexible and sensitive pressure sensors, as well as tactile feedback displays for specific applications such as for remote palpation that could be used during laparoscopic surgery.

Digital replay, editing and manipulation of recorded touch events were demonstrated at various spatial and temporal resolutions. The researchers used an 8 8 active-matrix ZnO pressure sensor array, a data acquisition and processing system (sensor array reader circuit, computer, and actuator array driver circuit), and a semi-rigid 8 8 polymer diaphragm actuator array.

The ability to digitize the touch contact enables direct remote transfer of touch information, long-term memory storage, and replay at a later time. "In addition, with the ability to reproduce and change the feeling of touch with both temporal and spatial resolutions make it possible to produce synthesized touch," said UC San Diego's Wang. "It could create experiences that do not exist in nature, as we have done with computer-generated imagery and synthesized music."

While Wang and his colleagues recognize that the touch revolution is still in its infancy, and human trials will probably be needed to calibrate the optimal actuator response needed to conform to the human perception of pressure strength, which depends on actuator displacement (amplitude), frequency, and how much time the actuator spends in its on- or off-state (duty cycle). Yet, say the researchers, there is every reason to believe that their experimental system, by adding an extra dimension to existing digital technologies, could extend the capabilities of modern information exchange.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9dqhVmoSwM


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, San Diego. The original article was written by Doug Ramsey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Siarhei Vishniakou, Brian W. Lewis, Xiaofan Niu, Alireza Kargar, Ke Sun, Michael Kalajian, Namseok Park, Muchuan Yang, Yi Jing, Paul Brochu, Zhelin Sun, Chun Li, Truong Nguyen, Qibing Pei, Deli Wang. Tactile Feedback Display with Spatial and Temporal Resolutions. Scientific Reports, 2013; 3 DOI: 10.1038/srep02521

Cite This Page:

University of California, San Diego. "Touch goes digital: Electronic recording and replay of human touch demonstrated." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130906141830.htm>.
University of California, San Diego. (2013, September 6). Touch goes digital: Electronic recording and replay of human touch demonstrated. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130906141830.htm
University of California, San Diego. "Touch goes digital: Electronic recording and replay of human touch demonstrated." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130906141830.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) MIT developed a robot modeled after a cheetah. It can run up to speeds of 10 mph, though researchers estimate it will eventually reach 30 mph. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins