Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


UTOUCH Report Summary

Project ID: 685368

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - UTOUCH (Universal mid-air haptic feedback)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2017-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The way people interface with the increasing number of machines around us is changing. Where we once typed on a keyboard and manipulated with a mouse, we now swipe, pinch and tap on a glass surface with touch screens operating everything from our mobile phones to our coffee machines. A new generation of interface is emerging which doesn’t even require physical contact with our device controls. Gesture recognition will revolutionise Human Machine Interation (HMI) freeing users from a two-dimensional interface. But gesture recognition lacks the touch feedback of a physical world. Ultrahaptics provides a remarkable connection with technology. Just like a physical switch, users can feel themselves interacting in mid-air. Haptic feedback allows users to know that their commands have been received by the devices. This ultrasonic technology is the missing piece to a seamless, intuitive gesture recognition experience.

This main aim of the project is to bring this technology to applications across multiple markets. The project has allowed Ultrahaptics to create two development kits, a B2B product and software tools where engineers across automotive, industrial, appliance and many other markets can quickly evaluate how mid-air touch will differentiate their product by making mid-air controls intuitive and responsive for the first time. The project has directly supported rapid growth of the company, reinforcing Ultrahaptics to be the global leader in mid-air haptics technology and the only company that offers mid-air haptics development kits available for purchase from distributors.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The project has enabled the Ultrahaptics engineers to create development kits which will allow the company to engage with multiple customers and allow them to develop their own product solutions using our technology.

The TOUCH development kit, available through distribution (EBV), officially launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January 2017. It includes all the software and hardware that product development engineers will require to create their own custom mid-air touch sensations. From an array of ultrasonic speakers, embedded software and a software editing tool, engineers can experience the mid-air haptic feedback within minutes of the box reaching their desk and create their own mid-air sensations within just a few hours.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The development kit allows for deployment of Ultrahaptics technology across hundreds of different applications. Because the TOUCH development kit contains everything developers need to recreate a selection of pre-programmed haptic sensations and the ability for them to create their own custom sensations, it enables the technology to be quickly and easily deployed into products.

The UTOUCH project has directly supported rapid growth of the company. About 40 employees were involved in the UTOUCH project overall and they spanned several teams in the company, from business development to project management and engineering. The project has led us to increase our Core and Tools team significantly to be able to support the current and future development of the TOUCH development kits and Sensation Editor software which are provided together with the kits.

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