It's Now Easier to Evaluate Haptics
As part of Ultraleap’s program of continuous product improvements, the price of our off-the-shelf haptic products – STRATOS Explore and STRATOS Inspire – is being reduced by up to 50%. Jonny Codling explains how we want to allow more smart, curious, and creative people to experiment with haptics, prior to moving to a commercial license.
Adding mid-air haptics to hand tracking makes gesture control more precise and deepens immersion.
We want to get our haptic technology into the hands of as many smart, curious, and creative people as possible. We want to see more haptic projects like the recent LEGO installation at Westfield, the DS Aero Sport Lounge concept car, or the touchless elevator featuring mid-air braille in our Beyond Touchscreens competition.
Both STRATOS Explore and STRATOS Inspire come with a free developer license. If you want to move forward to external demonstrations or commercial rollouts, you’ll need to talk to us about a commercial license. (Existing commercial licenses are also unaffected by this pricing change.)
Haptics, touchless technology, and the pandemic
The reduction in price comes at an important time to be experimenting with a technology that creates the sensation of touch in mid-air. Touchless touch. Virtual touch. No controllers. No surfaces. No wearables.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a paradoxical effect on our relationship with touch. On the one hand, anxiety about the hygiene risks of touching people and surfaces has never been higher. Touchless technology is rapidly gaining traction.
On the other hand, the enforced separation caused by the pandemic has thrown into relief the importance of touch. Skin (or touch) hunger has moved from a niche academic subject to mainstream media. It’s the negative emotional and physical effects of being unable to touch other people for long periods of time.
Retailers are also realizing that the way we rub a fabric between thumb and forefinger in store, or heft a tool to feel the weight, cannot be easily replaced by browsing a website.
In VR, people have talked about the value of presence for years. But it wasn’t until we moved to learning, socializing, and working almost wholly mediated by 2D screens that we realized more widely just how important presence is.
With remote working likely here to stay in some form, we’re going to have to find better ways to connect. And increasing our sense of presence is deeply related to our sense of touch.
We know that our sense of presence is created by a combination of tactile sensations, vision, and proprioception (the sense of the position of our bodies in space). Studies on the impact of adding haptic technology to VR have proved what most people seem to instinctively know – adding haptics deepens users’ sense of presence.
Today, we’re in a place where we see more clearly than ever why we need the sense of touch. At the same time, touching people or objects seems riskier than ever before.
To bridge this gap, we want to allow more people to experiment with our touchless haptic technology – in VR, in AR, in retail, interactive kiosks, automotive, academia. We hope you enjoy experimenting, and we can’t wait to see what you create.
Jonny Codling is a patented inventor with extensive experience in developing and bringing innovative products to market in the consumer electronics and automotive sectors. He wishes he had invented the human hand.
DISCOVER ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES
It’s time to explore what’s possible. STRATOS Explore is a flexible, scalable high-end haptics development kit, built for innovation.