Posts Tagged ‘ Research ’

Bringing Texture to Your Flat Touchscreen

It could be possible in future we could feel the texture on touchscreens. Scientists have taken a closer look at bringing texture to touchscreens and have found that under circumstances, people can feel “virtual bumps.”

Here’s something which has been published on this research:

Northwestern University and Carnegie Mellon University researchers reported a fascinating discovery that provides insight into how the brain makes sense of data from fingers. In a study of people drawing their fingers over a flat surface that has two “virtual bumps,” the research team is the first to find that, under certain circumstances, the subjects feel only one bump when there really are two. Better yet, the researchers can explain why the brain comes to this conclusion. Forces felt by the fingers as they travel along a flat surface can lead to the illusion that the surface actually contains bumps. This “virtual bump illusion” is known in the haptics field. Intrigued by this phenomenon, the scientists decided to make use of it.

By leveraging the virtual bump illusion, we were able to design a meaningful experiment that shed light on the way the brain integrates information from multiple fingers,” said Colgate. “Our big finding was ‘collapse’-the idea that separate bumps felt in separate fingers are nonetheless experienced as one bump if their separation happens to match that of the fingers.”

The researchers presented two virtual bumps with the use of haptic technology, with the distance between them varying across trials, to volunteers. When bump and finger spacing were identical, the volunteers said that they felt the two bumps as one. “Our findings will help us and other researchers figure out how to design haptic technology to produce certain tactile effects,” said Michael Peshkin, one of the researchers. “Haptics-giving a feel to objects-just enhances the physicality of a person’s experience.”

This new research and its experimental results on “haptic illusions” could one day lead to flat-screen displays featuring active touch-back technology, we could in future see screens where you can feel certain components, such as making your touchscreen’s keyboard actually feel like a keyboard.

Bionic Eyes

In a pioneering research, scientists claim to be developing bionic eyes for the blind, which they say will be ready for human trials by 2013.

Here’s a brief explanation of bionic vision system or bionic eye:

What is bionic eye?

Bionic Contacts Lens

image credit: wikipedia
This lens is based upon Bionic Technology, but it’s not a Bionic Eye.

Bionic eye is an experimental visual device intended to restore the sense of vision to people living with blindness, low vision, or age-related macular degeneration.

Bionic eyes or bionic vision system consists of a camera mounted on pair of glasses, the purpose of this camera is to transmits visual information or high-frequency radio signals to a microchip( or electrode array) which is connected to neurons in the retina. Electrodes on the implanted chip convert these signals into electrical impulses and then these electrical impulses are transmitted through the optic nerve to the vision centers of the brain where they are interpreted as an image. The detail of a generated image by this technology depends on phosphene. A phosphene is a perceived spot of light in the visual field which can be induced with the help of electrodes. It means the more electrodes are implanted, the more phosphenes are capable of being generated and the more detail a patient may be able to see.

A person using this device or technology won’t experience vision in the same way that a person with a healthy eye does but with training and patience people will adapt to the implant. This technology is in its initial stage and with time and more research, it is possible that in future this technology can help patients living with blindness and low vision to recognize faces, read large print and much more. It is also possible with the more research and advancement in the field of bionic vision systems, there will be high-resolution and visual quality bionic eyes and will be commercially available which can even provide better vision than normal eyes. It might be possible that even healthy people will upgrade their sight with these kind of devices.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_prosthesis

What If Someone Can Hear Your Inner Dialogue!

What if someone can hear your innner dialogue?

Few studies and researches has shown that brainwaves can be decoded and then can be converted into speech.

Here’s something on this topic, but lets first understand what is brain wave?

Brain wave is an electrical signal (like wave form) in the brain. The human brain is made up of billions of brain cells called neurons, which use electricity to communicate with each other. The combination of millions of neurons sending signals at once produces an enormous amount of electrical activity in the brain, which can be measured using an EEG (EEG is the measurement of electrical activity in the brain using electrodes attached to the scalp and can provide an indication of the mental state of the individual).

These brainwaves in our head can be decoded and then it can be converted into speech by using some kind of technology. Many researches are ongoing on it to find out an effective and better solution for it. Though scientist have already succeeded in converting brainwaves into speech but till yet it’s not what exactly it should be like so that it can be used on humans effectively. This technology could help people speak through a computer simply by thinking what they want to say. It will help voiceless patients or the people who lost their voice because of paralysis or locked-in syndrome to regain their voice. They can speak thoughts directly much like Stephen Hawking, the famed physicist who speaks only with the aid of a computer synthesizer; he communicates using a sensor attached to his glasses which records his cheek movements whereas conversion of brainwaves into speech is different from this and certainly one day this kind of technology will help us to communicate with a person who can think and hear but cannot speak.

This technology has numerous other things to offer too. By decoding patterns of activity in the brain, it will possible to play back the imagined conversations in our heads. All the dialogue you speak inside your head or anything you say inside your head can be heard using this technology. For instance, when you read this sentence to yourself, it’s likely that you hear the words in your head which generates brainwaves in your head and by successfully decoding and converting them into audible signal we can hear what’s going on someone’s mind and perhaps one day it will be possible to hear inner dialogue or inner conversation of a person. Brain activity is thought to be similar whether we hear a sentence or think the same sentence, this technology will brings us into the new era of broadcasting our inner thoughts to the world without speaking and it might even be possible to read someone’s mind but at the present date it’s still a matter of research.