Scientists will touch each other over the Internet, literally:
- In a technological first, they will use pencil-like devices called phantoms to recreate the sense of touch across the Atlantic, organizers of the experiment said.
The phantoms send small impulses at very high frequencies down the Internet using newly developed fiber optic cables and extremely high bandwidths.
When a scientist in London prods a screen with the phantom, the sensation should be felt by a colleague in Boston, and vice versa.
“Pushing on the pen sends data representing forces through the Internet that can be interpreted by a phantom and therefore felt on the other end,” said Mel Slater, Professor of Computer Science at University College London (UCL).
“You can not only feel the resulting force, but you can also get a sense of the quality of the object you’re feeling — whether it’s soft or hard, wood-like or fleshy.”
….Two scientists — one in London and one in Boston — will try to pick up a cube between them and move it, each responding to the force the other exerts on it.
The secret behind the technology is the speed at which the successive impulses are sent — up to 1,000 Hertz,” UCL said in a statement.
“In much the same way that the brain re-interprets still images into moving pictures, the frequencies received by the phantom are similarly integrated to produce the sense of a continuous sensation,” it said.
….If successful, it could allow people to touch and feel each other over the Internet.
Talk about safe sex – I think we may have found our “killer ap” to drive high bandwidth.
Kevin Meyerson points outr from Japan that someone is way ahead of me on this one:
- Dominic Choy of Cammeray, New South Wales is in the process of creating a life-sized sex doll, complete with imitation skin, that is fully controlled over a computer system, the U.K.-based New Scientist magazine reported in its Jan. 20 issue.
Choy applied last April for a patent on the technology and was granted U.S. patent WO 00/59581 in October, according to the patent application.
Using signals from the Internet as well as sound and touch sensors, the apparatus would allow a user wearing a virtual reality headset to have virtual sex with someone in another part of the world also online or with a person of the user’s imagination, such as a celebrity, the patent backgrounder suggests.
The doll itself will be essentially passive, but certain key body parts would be motor driven, the patent says.
“Certain key parts” – I like that.
The experiment worked:
- Scientists in Britain and the United States shook hands Tuesday. No big deal, one might think, but the men in question were 3,000 miles apart, connected only by the Internet.
In a technological first, two scientists — one in London and one in Boston — picked up a computer-generated cube between them and moved it, each responding to the force the other exerted on it.