girl watching movie

Imagine walking into your local movie theater for the latest 3D flick, you go through the usual previews before the movie starts when suddenly, strange creatures start slithering across your back.  That concept could be coming soon with inventors over at Disney working on a system referred to as Tactile Brush, which creates an illusion of being touched using various mechanics merged-together.  One method currently used to create illusions is called tactile motion and uses two vibrating objects placed on the skin in quick succession, which creates the illusion of a single vibration at contact.  

Phantom tactile sensation, another method being tested, uses a stationary version of the pair which is sensed as a single object within. Although both methods have been around for decades, this is the first time anyone has used them for a more precise tactile feedback.

With the help of volunteers, Ali Israr and Ivan Poupyrev at Disney Research Pittsburgh studied the illusions by utilizing chairs backed by a grid of twelve vibrating coils.  In different levels of sequence and intensity, the inventors figured out how to create motion and objects which didn't actually exist.

alternate text"Using our own skin to display special effects"

Hiding Behind A Pillow Won't Work

From crawling insects to the sensation of falling rain, movies could be using our own skin to display special effects very soon.  Mixed with a variety of other emerging technologies including ultra high-definition and 3D, Tactile Brush provides an extra depth of illusion which will help viewers truly feel what they are watching.

Also being developed are wearable devices with vibrators worn around the sleeves and torso which would enhance existing amusement park rides at Disney to create sensations such as wind and rain.

With so many different parts of the human body being stimulated, it's only a matter of time until your regular gaming console starts implementing these technology innovations very soon.

Gaming Applications

It doesn't matter whether its a simple vibration from our gaming controller or a fully virtual world on the Oculus Rift, gaming companies are always pushing the boundaries to give players a more realistic experience. By allowing wearable devices to provide Tactile Brush feedback, your usual zombie game could turn into a truly horrifying experience with the sensation of dead flesh clawing away at your skin.  

Let's not forget how players would be able to react quicker the moment bullets start flying, since this technology would allow feedback on which direction their "battle armor" is being hit. If an enemy engages your back, you don't have to look at your screen for a notification you're being shot, feel the bullet vibrating against your left side and now payback is on the mind instead.

Source "Illusions to send shivers down a gamer's spine"