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Disney Creates New Mid-Air Haptic Technology

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the holodeck-inches-closer dept.

Technology 62

An anonymous reader sends word of a new technology from Disney called AIREAL, featured at this year's SIGGRAPH 2013 conference in Anaheim, CA. It's designed to give tactile sensations to people who are using motion control devices. The device can track a target, like a user's hand, and send a compressed ring of air quickly through the intervening space to provide haptic feedback. They say the device is both inexpensive and scalable. Several of its parts are easily 3-D printed.

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3D Boobs (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44339311)

Title says it all. I predict this will be one of the first commercial applications of this wonderful new technology.

Re:3D Boobs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44339403)

Eisners got a pair.... 3d brass-balls, that is!

No, seriously, this tech has been used for decades in air-force flight simulation.
Obsolete? maybe the military would rather use HAARP, but for filmgoers, even more *sensory deception* hugely increases the effects...

When can i watch "Dont mess with the Borat" or Zohar or whatever? i wanna literally fEEl the hot-air.....
Can you imaginE the shot percussion from a Dirty-Desert-E?

Re:3D Boobs (4, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year ago | (#44339647)

Great, so now dead space 4 will not only have nasties jumping out of the dark, but a gentle wisp of breathing on my neck as well.

I think the sales of adult diapers will be going through the roof.

Re:3D Boobs (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44341063)

Perhaps the game will be cheaper now that adult diaper companies will be sponsoring the development. That's something to look forward to, don't you think?

Re:3D Boobs (2)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#44339803)

Never mind boobs, this thing will revolutionise blow jobs.

Re:3D Boobs (3, Funny)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44339829)

You know a blow job is not simply blowing air on a penis, right? There is a suction part missing to make it happens.

Re:3D Boobs (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44339915)

Use the other end of the device.

Re:3D Boobs (4, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#44340271)

Yeah, the part with the fan.

Is there a way to make a REVERSE air puff? (3, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | about a year ago | (#44340139)

I know that the context of this thread hardly lends itself to serious speculation but I was just wondering...

Since "puffs" of air are basically over-pressure waves in a medium, can an apparatus be made to make an "under" pressure wave? In air, or water or other mediums? Prurient applications aside there might be some useful applications (I used to work in the theme park industry so water shows come to mind). Maybe if a cavitation bubble (which I understand is an under-pressure volume) could be projected, it could be an effective underwater weapon (they damage propellers on ships and submarines). Perhaps an acoustic under-pressure wave could damage eardrums or supress audio (useful for crowd control). How about undersea trench laying for fiber optic cables?

Most likely though there is something about the non-linear response of under-pressure waves that would prevent them from being used in a practical application. Then my next question would be, did the Disney researchers try using a pressure wave shaped in a soliton? This might enable it to travel great(er) distances without losing its "shape". Or are solitons even possible in compressive versus transverse waves?

Wouldn't be the first time the porn industry helped accelerate the adoption of a whole industry! (VCRs).

Re:Is there a way to make a REVERSE air puff? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44344881)

tl;dr: You can't push on a rope, and nature abhors a vacuum.

You can easily create an underpressure wave by moving an object through a fluid. The region of underpressure follows behind the object, as the object has temporarily moved all the fluid out of the way. However, as soon as the object passes, the fluid rushes in to fill the underpressure region.

Acoustic overpressure (aka fucking loud sounds) destroys eardrums just fine. Any sound loud enough to shake the air back and forth to the point where bubbles of vacuum appear is already loud enough to cause damage.

Torpedoes destroy ships with an explosion followed by an imploding cavitation bubble. The hull may very well survive the initial explosion and shrapnel impact, but the explosion has pushed the water away from the ship's hull. The water rushes back into the resulting near-vacuum with peak pressure at impact. From the point of view of any hull-building material outside the realm of fiction, the overpressure from the collapsing bubble can be adequately described as "too much".

You cannot create an underpressure wave in the wake of nothing. If you generate a region of vacuum through cavitation (rapidly move two parallel plates apart in a fluid, or spin a propeller too quickly and have its tips move faster than the fluid's surface tension can hold together, or anger a mantis shrimp), the fluid immediately rushes in on the vacuum from all sides. Vacuums can only pull; they cannot push.

Powerful sonars can cause injury in animals caught within their beams (cf. whales with suspicious pressure-induced trauma) where the nulls in the sound waves hitting their body are basically vacuum. However, the nulls are caused by 210+ dB sound pressure levels piling up the fluid molecules around them. Just for fun, I tried to come up with an analogy for this kind of sound pressure level that sounds better than "standing a short distance from an explosion", but all I ended up with was sitting slightly inside the exhaust of a large modern turbofan engine with a three-piece rock band whose speakers and amps happen to be powered by the other three engines, and they're all having a nice heavy jam.

You can push on a rope if you can get the entire rope to start moving in the direction you want. So maybe instead of focusing on vacuum, you should focus on warping space-time. Or a pulley

Re:Is there a way to make a REVERSE air puff? (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44347405)

+5 insightful

Re:3D Boobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44340819)

Title says it all. I predict this will be one of the first commercial applications of this wonderful new technology.

Actually, the Haptics lab at M.I.T. has already successfully done this!

Using a vibration method they were able to make it feel like a persons fingers were touching any kind of surface, including flesh. They even had a virtual boob in their test system that they say felt completely real with this interface.

Unfortunately they ended up having to remove the test boob from the system due to staff gender "politics"... The important thing though is that it worked!!!

Re:3D Boobs (1)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#44341115)

Translation:

"Hi. I start sentences with the word 'actually' which is a code word for 'I am a walking penis.'"

Thank you.

Re:3D Boobs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44342891)

Translation:

"Hi. I start sentences with the word 'actually' which is a code word for 'I am a walking penis.'"

Thank you.

That's all that you got out of that comment? You missed the whole "M.I.T. has successfully demonstrated authentic virtual touch sensation of 3D boobs" and instead insult the way the poster started a sentence... You are clearly a feminazi of some sort.

Re:3D Boobs (1)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#44348273)

I stopped reading at "Actually" because the giant walking penis alarm went off.

Re: 3D Boobs (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#44343275)

Have yourself fun, fucking the Mario Bros, dude.

Re: 3D Boobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44344759)

Lol to this, not *quite* what I had in mind ;D

3D printing != Cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44339337)

3D printing != Cheap. 3D printing is only "cheap" for non mass production of custom items....

This doesn't change the fact that... (1, Informative)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#44339375)

Disney is evil, constantly pushing for increasing copyright terms, and stealing our culture from us.

They built the company upon other's original works (brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, Mark Twain, etc.), and now want keep others from having a similar opportunity.

Re:This doesn't change the fact that... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44339411)

I can say the same thing about your opinion.

And I just did.

Copyright AC.

Re:This doesn't change the fact that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44339625)

Do you happen to have been hard-wired to spew pro-ACTA/SOPA hot-air rings with a gusto?
A similar blower unit was tested in Japanese theatres earlier this year.

Re:This doesn't change the fact that... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44339687)

Well, if Disney grows from products they conceived and developed themselves this kinda does change that fact.

Re:This doesn't change the fact that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44340201)

The evil parts were what I was thinking of when I read that Disney was behind this. They have it patented beyond belief, and knowing their reputation, they want to expand patent lengths from where they are now to 500,000 millenia past the death of the great great great great grandson of the archaeologist who discovers this written down 10 centuries from next year.

Re:This doesn't change the fact that... (1)

peragrin (659227) | about a year ago | (#44341209)

Same company but disney does a lot with robotics, and other technolgies combining them in wayss you wouldn't think about. Their theme parks are a example of some really cool really practical advanced tech being used to it's limits.

the thing is most of it is hidden behind smoke, mirrors, and costumes so you never see it or hear it. They call it disney magic.

Re:This doesn't change the fact that... (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#44350289)

Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

Disney's parks are chock-full of the latest feats of engineering. In fact, that was pretty much the original plan for EPCOT - a self-contained community for trying out upcoming technology. Sadly capitalism got in the way of that plan, but I digress...

Disney loves to not just brag about their latest feats, but they'll also happily show off their existing mechanisms. Each park has a behind-the-scenes tour that covers most of the major engineering, and the general workings of practically everything are shown off in disney's many publications (in the guise of boastful advertisements). They don't like getting into details, and they really don't like revealing anything that might aid copyright infringement (like releasing pictures of ride track design or concept art), but most of their mechanical magic is common knowledge.

AIREAL + Oculus Rift would be amazing (3, Insightful)

MSRedfox (1043112) | about a year ago | (#44339383)

The idea of this mixed with an Oculus Rift would be amazing. We're getting close to the virtual reality they teased me with as a child.

Re:AIREAL + Oculus Rift would be amazing (1)

Alejux (2800513) | about a year ago | (#44339809)

If only this wasn't being developed by Disney; the most evil, money grubbing company that exists. They probably secured the patent for this for the next 800 years and will sue anyone who tries to use air-based haptics this century.

Re:AIREAL + Oculus Rift would be amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44340023)

| Disney; the most evil, money grubbing company that exists

Hmm, how do they compare to Electronic Arts?

Re:AIREAL + Oculus Rift would be amazing (1)

black3d (1648913) | about a year ago | (#44340039)

Disney are definitely worse than EA. EA, for example, lets a lot of "fan projects" in old IP slide, and even released DRM free stuff on GOG from time to time. They may be money-grubbing, but Disney is just evil.

Re:AIREAL + Oculus Rift would be amazing (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year ago | (#44340717)

EA are just a bunch of assholes Disney is a bunch of evil assholes that buy laws to extend their power like the Micky Mouse/Sonney Bono copyright extension.

Re:AIREAL + Oculus Rift would be amazing (1)

Rakarra (112805) | about a year ago | (#44340979)

If only this wasn't being developed by Disney; the most evil, money grubbing company that exists. They probably secured the patent for this for the next 800 years and will sue anyone who tries to use air-based haptics this century.

Let's not break out the hyperbole. Copyright extension sucks, but there are a lot of other companies out there committing worse evils on a daily basis.

Re:AIREAL + Oculus Rift would be amazing (1)

smustafa (2465548) | about a year ago | (#44351957)

Disney; the most evil, money grubbing company that exists.

Not Oracle? I work in development and pre-sales and from my world view, I am certain that there has to be a hell and there has to be a special circle there for the Oracle decision makers.

Re:AIREAL + Oculus Rift would be amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44340915)

Two words: GORILLA ARMS!

The Only Market That Matters (4, Funny)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about a year ago | (#44339527)

Are there applications for interactive porn? I don't know how much push they can put in those air rings, but if it's enough to stimulate a penis, I say... blow me.

Re:The Only Market That Matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44339595)

Teledildonics already manages that better, I think

Re:The Only Market That Matters (1)

Dave Emami (237460) | about a year ago | (#44339799)

Sounds like Gabe's dream [penny-arcade.com] is about to come true.

Re:The Only Market That Matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44340253)

Um, yes.

RealTouch is a haptic device that reproduces male stimulation in sync to porn videos and live cam models.

Re:The Only Market That Matters (1)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#44341121)

How about another porn post. Because you know, we didn't get it the first 118,000 times some neckbeard fuck snort-laughed while he posted "boobs."

Re:The Only Market That Matters (1)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about a year ago | (#44346247)

Mine was the first porn reference to the story, mine was a little cleverer than most, and, oh yeah...

Go fuck yourself, you humorless, dried up killjoy. I looked at some of the "wisdom" in your other posts.

1 - You're very angry.
2 - Everyone else is stupid because they don't think just like you.
3 - You like to use the word "penis" a lot. I mean, A LOT.

Lighten up, Francis.

Re:The Only Market That Matters (1)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#44348269)

I'm not angry. I write every post with a smile on my face.

There was a time when Slashdot wasn't a gaggle of dicks.

Sadly that time has passed.

Re:The Only Market That Matters (1)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about a year ago | (#44352515)

Whether the community has changed, or you have ossified and become irrelevant, you're not a good fit here. By all means, keep venting. I read some of your posts, and they are somewhat amusing, like watching a Roomba bump up against the same sneaker over and over.

Feel free to respond with something ad hominem, but this isn't a conversation, and I won't read it.

Jack in the Box (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44339535)

Put the haptic feedback in a box, into which someone can insert their penis. Instant vagina simulator.

The sexbot dream is coming closer, I can feel it. Well, *now* I can feel it.

virtual blow job anyone (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44339599)

need i say more?

This isn't new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44339615)

This isn't new, a lot of 3D theaters across the world have exactly the same thing...
but it's new when you can produce it at home..

typical Disney...

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44339653)

Soooo..... Not useful in a holodeck and does not shoot actual smoke rings for a cool party effect..... Trash it and try again. Come one people! Wasting time on tech like this is why we do not have jet packs yet!

"Featured"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44339791)

>> An anonymous reader sends word of a new technology from Disney called AIREAL, featured at this year's SIGGRAPH 2013 conference in Anaheim, CA.

"Featured"?

It's Saturday night in Anaheim right now! Even exhibitors won't be able to gain entry to set up anything until tomorrow morning (Sunday).

"Featured" by itself is past-tense, but the overall sentence gives the impression that not only was this technology already seen at SIGGRAPH, but that SIGGRAPH might already be over -- before it has even begun!

The phrase "to be featured" would have been better!

Disney is a conundrum (1)

Strange Ranger (454494) | about a year ago | (#44339801)

Disney has such cool technology and amazing implementation from their theme parks to their cruise ships. It's fascinating to watch how they do things.
 
Meanwhile, the Disney Channel is so full of terrible awful nauseating acting and relentless fake laugh tracks that I can't stand when my kids have it on the other room. I make them turn it off. 5 other things on TV at any time that are much better for them and that they like (And yes OFF is the best setting). Yet you turn to any full length animated feature and it's usually pretty darn good.
 
Disney is ruining their name with their daily TV. Pre-teens "acting" worse than any 6th grade talent show, with dialogue that would choke a normal kid.

It's hard to understand the total disparity in quality.

Re:Disney is a conundrum (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#44339969)

Disney is an IP company. The vision of Walter has long since been dead only for the momentum of his IP to carry the name forward. It's about purchasing cheap toys and talent and marking them up to insane levels. Give it another generation or two and Disney will be just another ho hum name. BFD!

Anyone notice the lack of innovation and the shitty re-design of the Mac Pro? Apple is trending the same path after Jobs left. Ditto for Microsoft after Gates. Companies that thrived off leadership of one man are doomed to failure after said man leaves.

Re:Disney is a conundrum (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | about a year ago | (#44342531)

The vision of Walter has long since been dead only for the momentum of his IP to carry the name forward.

To be fair, at least according to Disney's biographers (I'm thinking Neal Gabler specifically here), merchandising and long-term franchises were a key part of his "vision" for family entertainment, perhaps not at first but for a great proportion of his career. He rigorously defended his company's trademarks and IP long before it was stylish to do so; this is the who, when he was young, he practiced his own signature every day during his lunch hour, so people would know it was his. He was obsessed with brand identity and defining his studio as a peerless source of safe, family entertainment, and his attitude was that anybody who made a knockoff Disney product or presented a Disney product without his approval was besmirching him, personally.

He was originally drawn to the craft because he pioneered the mass-production of it, and he was just the sort of control freak who could make such an operation profitable and artistically valid. After World War II he'd completely burned out on animation itself, and turned his attention to theme parks where the entertainers were automata who never complained and performed perfectly every time. Meanwhile he consolidated his business empire.

Re:Disney is a conundrum (1)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about a year ago | (#44340017)

It's like the difference between Microsoft's research division and the rest of that company. Totally different groups, with totally different goals. Aside from sharing some IP* they could be completely different companies.

My largest worry about this device is the lawyers. It's a neat concept, but they're going to patent it up the wazoo. Not the specific tech mind you, but the idea. Now no one can "Use an air pulse to provide haptic feedback" without getting their pants sued off by Disney.

*IP="Intellectual Property" (also known as a government granted monopoly on an idea, thought, or expression)

Re:Disney is a conundrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44340417)

Granted but I would expect the folks in the really amazing divisions to be gnashing their teeth up the ladder at the folks putting out that veritable poison every day on the TV. They're in a position to make programming that enriches and inspires children and makes huge fans of parents. Instead we get bad lip syncing, dreadfully shallow characters, vacuous dialogue, a laugh track every 6 seconds, and the persistent idea that all you have to do is dance like Uncle Fester and be pretty and everyone will love you and cheer for you. It's bad for kids.

Re:Disney is a conundrum (1)

Rakarra (112805) | about a year ago | (#44340971)

It's hard to understand the total disparity in quality.

One group handles film, animation, and theme parks.

Other groups handle TV, ESPN, other subsidiaries.

Duck duck goose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44339851)

Go fuck yourself.

As useless as moving holograms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44340431)

Certain engineering concepts can be executed, but in ways so limited they may as well be considered undo-able. Animated holograms are one good example of this. Thousands of ways to create animated true-3d visual images, and all of them are horrible. Creating 'physical' objects for the body to 'detect' out of thin air is another such nonsense.

Virtual reality would love to create physical sensations for the user. All the clunky ways in which this might be achieved are really non-starters, including rubbish about air-blasts. The ONLY approach that makes sense is electrically inducing the nerve responses that would give the brain the SAME signals as if the body were really experiencing the same physical stimuli on the surface of the skin.

Of course, in reality we not only 'feel' sensations (like the fur of a pet) but our movements are restricted by the physical nature of objects around us. Over-riding nerve signals designed to move parts of our body, giving the impression of contact with an imaginary physical object, would seem almost impossible to achieve without directly wiring into the Human nervous system.

I appreciate the Disney idea is far simpler in ambition- merely providing a little physical feedback in otherwise 'empty' space, but what purpose is served by solving easy problems. It is a fallacy to suggest that HARD problems are solved by solving a lot of EASY problems. Did anyone here think that it was impossible to connect an air-hose to a robot arm with a camera tracking system? The smart person would ask "why would anyone bother?"

And yes, I get the fact that Disney can use such gimmicky crap in the insanely limited circumstances of its amusement rides and theme parks.

Grrey, grey, grey... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44341109)

Couldn't stand the website, because everything was CORPORATE GREY. Grey text on a white background, almost impossible to see - just like Slashdot - lovely.

What about directed ultrasound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44341359)

What about using something like this combined with those directed sound generators?
That could both result in sound and pressure coming from points in free space.
That would be fantastic.

Hell, wouldn't it be possible to use the sound generator itself to create the pressure by using the right frequencies at the right times?

Go for the eyes, Boo (1)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about a year ago | (#44341853)

So what happens if this thing blows its load right into the face of some tot and shoves some dust into precious' eyes? The little snowflake might be blinded! I see lawsuit written large in the future of this thing.

It doesn't matter how cool or useful something is; the over-zealous litigatory nature of American society will probably keep this from getting into common usage.

But what do I know; I'm just a grumpy old man who misses his lawn darts ;-)

Re:Go for the eyes, Boo (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about a year ago | (#44344795)

> The over-zealous litigatory nature of American society...

It's a global trend. I suspect it's correlated with the advent of powerful insurance companies: once you can get sued to bankrupcy for too many trivial reasons, your only reaction is to get insurance against such risks.

Am I the only one thinking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44344287)

This would be a cool way to send bong hits all around the room?

Horror games? (1)

kav2k (1545689) | about a year ago | (#44348277)

I would say this is a great tool, when used in surround configuration, to enhance horror game experience.

You know, the "for optimal experience, play in a dark room with headphones" ones.

Possibilities (1)

Brian Johns (2931647) | about a year ago | (#44353727)

Great potential for a lot of different technologies and a whole new interface method for the blind.

Re:Possibilities (1)

Brian Johns (2931647) | about a year ago | (#44353767)

Come to think of it, couldn't you simulate the experiencing of audio and hearing using the same principles, but using our tactile senses as the receivers instead of our aural ones. Someone could listen by feel, the same way that someone like Beethoven used to compose music as his hearing got worse.
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