With the aim of implementing a television service which allows viewers to touch virtual objects, NHK is developing a tactile system which applies stimuli to five points on one finger, making objects feel more real than when using previous systems.
This device assists people with a visual disability, through what’s called the tactile or kinesthetic sense. It communicates a 3D shape or 2D graph of an object shown on a TV, such as a work of art, as a sensation felt by the hand. The system detects spatial position data for the fingertip in 1/1000 of a second. The finger moves freely if there isn’t anything present, but when it approaches something, it becomes unable to go into the object. By tracing with your finger like this, you can feel that there’s a continuous rough surface there. Also, the jagged feeling of the tooth makes the sensation similar to that of touching an actual object.