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Levitation with localised tactile and audio feedback for mid-air interactions

Project description

A multimodal display floating in space

We currently use numerous touch and touchless interaction-based applications, but they lack physical feedback and the overall physicality of the experience. However, this is about to change with the EU-funded Levitate project. Its objective is to develop the first physical interface system that will revolutionise user experience. The project will employ parametric audio to modulate the sound waves generated by levitating atoms, enabling users to control the audible sound produced. Additionally, projecting visuals onto these atoms will provide an extra layer of sensory stimulation, resulting in a uniquely engaging experience for viewers. Levitate’s prototype will pave the way for virtual interactions that closely resemble real-life interactions, where visual projection onto objects creates a rich multimodal display floating in space.


"This project will be the first to create, prototype and evaluate a radically new human-computer interaction paradigm that
empowers the unadorned user to reach into levitating matter, see it, feel it, manipulate it and hear it. Our users can interact
with the system in a walk-up-and-use manner without any user instrumentation.

As we are moving away from keyboards and mice to touch and touchless interactions, ironically, the main limit is the lack of
any physicality and co-located feedback. In this project, we propose a highly novel vision of bringing the physical interface to
the user in mid-air. In our vision, the computer can control the existence, form, and appearance of complex levitating objects
composed of ""levitating atoms"". Users can reach into the levitating matter, feel it, manipulate it, and hear how they deform it
with all feedback originating from the levitating object's position in mid-air, as it would with objects in real life. This will
completely change how people use technology as it will be the first time that they can interact with technology in the same
way they would with real objects in their natural environment.

We will draw on our understanding of acoustics to implement all of the components in a radically new approach. In particular,
we will draw on ultrasound beam-forming and manipulation techniques to create acoustic forces that can levitate particles
and to provide directional audio cues. By using a phased array of ultrasound transducers, the team will create levitating
objects that can be individually controlled and at the same time create tactile feedback when the user manipulates these
levitating objects. We will then demonstrate that the levitating atoms can each become sound sources through the use of
parametric audio with our ultrasound array serving as the carrier of the audible sound. We will visually project onto the objects to create a rich multimodal display floating in space."

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 703 993,88
G12 8QQ Glasgow
United Kingdom

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Scotland West Central Scotland Glasgow City
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 703 993,88

Participants (6)