Disney Research today unveiled AIREAL, a low-cost, highly scalable solution that aims to fill an increasing void in gaming by bring tactile feedback to motion-responsive controllers, such as the Microsoft Kinect.
While traditional gaming controllers often use vibration to provide haptic feedback to gamers, those using controllers that respond to physical movement haven’t been afforded that luxury until now.
The AIREAL uses a (mostly) 3D printed vortex generator that uses speakers whose diaphragms are activated, pushing air out of the device. By alternating patterns and lengths, the tactile feedback can vary depending on the player’s situation and expectations. Furthermore, the AIREAL system is scalable, allowing an array of them to be used in situations to provide feedback in true three dimensional space.
Applications of AIREAL extend far beyond that of gaming, however, as evidenced in the demonstration video released by Disney Research. One such example, which will be demonstrated at SIGGRAPH in Anaheim this weekend, is that of projecting images on to surfaces, be they human flesh or other objects such as plant life, and to have AIREAL respond accordingly, to add to the impression that the projected object is really affecting the physical space.