Wiimote Killer: Ultrasound Technology

September 2, 2008

Some mysterious Japanese scientists working inside an underground laboratory that you access through a Mega Man-style robotic palm tree entrance have given cyber birth to the next echelon of game control: ultrasound waves projected at users to make them actually feel virtual objects as if they were real.Think of all the things in video games you could hold!  A football, or a gun come immediately to mind.  Or Lara Croft. You know what I would love to do?  I'd love to play a deathmatch game of two-hand touch football with Lara Croft, the last quarter of which was a sexy, sexy pistol battle.

Here's the science of it explained at a Bill Nye level:

Sound is a pressure wave, meaning that as the inaudible sound waves from each of the transducers interfere, they can create a focal point that is perceived as a solid object. The team's prototype system includes a camera which tracks the position of a user's hand and shifts the output from the transducers to move the focus around with the hand. The result is a feeling of tracing the edge or surface of the virtual object.

The article goes on to suggest that "industrial companies" are eager to commercialize the concept, but I wouldn't hold my breath.  Unless you're doing it virtually.  Then you're okay.