AIREAL: Tactile Gaming Experiences in Free Air

Emerging Technologies
Sunday, July 21, 2013 - 12:00am to Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 12:00am
Anaheim Convention Center

Interactions with computers have expanded into the physical world. Recent developments of low-cost gesture-tracking technologies, like the Microsoft Kinect, have enabled millions of users to interact with their computers by gesturing with their bodies. Furthermore, computer-vision tracking and registration techniques now enable novel projection-based displays to overlay projected images into our physical environments, creating entirely new augmented-reality experiences. These natural interfaces will continue to be incorporated into mobile devices, where they will enable rich interactive experiences anywhere, anytime.

One missing piece in this emerging world of natural interfaces is the absence of physical feedback. AIREAL is a technology that delivers interactive tactile experiences in free air. Currently, users are still required to wear physical devices (for example, gloves, belts, vests) to receive tactile feedback, which hinders natural user interaction and limits the range of applications that can effectively employ tactile feedback. With AIREAL, interactive tactile sensations can be created in free air using compressed air pressure fields that stimulate the user’s skin. The system is designed to use vortices (rings of air that can travel large distances while retaining their shape and speed).

AIREAL does not require the user or a physical object to be instrumented with a device. The device is scalable and inexpensive. It is a practical free-air haptic technology that can be used in a broad range of applications. The technology is described in detail in the companion SIGGRAPH 2013 Technical Paper: AIREAL: Interactive Tactile Experiences in Free Air.

Rajinder Sodhi
University of Illinois

Matthew Glisson
Disney Research Pittsburgh

Ivan Poupyrev
Disney Research Pittsburgh

Alex Rothera
Disney Research Pittsburgh

Joanna Dauner
Berlin University of Arts