This tech lets you see and feel water that isn't actually there
Once again, Japan has proven itself the undisputed king of weird, wonderful technological gadgetry. While I can think of perfectly innocent reasons to perfect an "immersive crossmodal system" capable of relaying the look and feel of flowing fluids in virtual space, I'm sure there are a few of you out there who are already smirking away.
According to Diginfo.TV, the whole system works kind of like this: Magnetic sensors in the pre-packaged 3D glasses measure your line of sight as you wear them. his, in turn, allows the system to dynamically alter what you see through the glasses, and lets you look into the scene from every direction.
That part's pretty standard as far as augmented reality goes. Here's where it gets a bit more interesting: Solidray's little project makes it possible to feel the sensation of flowing water by lifting a cup and placing it against the stream, even though there's no water there.
To accomplish this, Solidray made use of the TECHTILE toolkit, Keio University's haptic feedback tool. When you place a cup under the stream of water, the TECHTILE system simulates the sensation of water flowing into the cup.It's that simple. Or that complicated, depending on how you look at it. In fact, it sounds a little like a more advanced version of the force feedback you'd find on a game controller.
Now, here's the million-dollar question: what do you think is going to come next? Personally, I'm all for the virtual reality industry taking this up and making rainforest-chase scenes all the more realistic. The only thing they'll need to do now is figure out how to reproduce the sensation of getting hit in a first-person shooter game—without the pain.