Friday, 5 July 2013


Whilst their hands are full with the upcoming release of the Xbox ONE, Microsoft have released information about their latest 3D navigation technology, named 'Haptic'.

The idea is based around a flat panel LCD screen with force sensors that ‘push back’ at any contact such as your finger. The concept, that has come from the scientists from Microsoft’s Natural Interaction Research Group is that this panel will respond in different amounts of force, potentially allowing your brain to recognise the range in density between one material and another.

With enough force, the screen will replicate solidity.

What follows, is the wide range of ways in which it can be used. To many, their first thought might be entertainment – or more specifically, video games. The ‘3D touchscreen’ idea lends an impressive sense of freedom and interaction, essentially an even more advanced version of the current generation’s use of motion control. However, Microsoft themselves have theorised that the technology could be utilised in the field of medicine as well.

Specifically, doctors could use Haptic technology to locate anomalies within muscle tissue such as tumours - the further the user’s hand pushes into the panel, the deeper into the muscle the display will show.

Before this technology becomes available to the public however, flaws must inevitably be corrected. Challenges such as replicating more complicated surfaces such as rough stone or even muscle tissue would pose great difficulty for even the most advanced of hardware.

Just how easy would it be to replicate these materials?

Yet with these developments and improvements, there is also plenty of room for potential. If at this stage, the technology is a basic idea, consider the possibilities when it will no doubt become fully accessible to the public. The question is...when?

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