‘3D Bumpy pixels’ – Oculus Touch haptic feedback

Thursday, 11 June 2015

A few weeks ago I wrote about an unheralded feature of the trackpad in Apple's 2015 MacBook computers: a force-feedback effect that could help users ‘feel’ application UIs - 'Bumpy' pixels: iMovie Apple Force Touch trackpad haptic feedback

Today, in the last five minutes of their pre-E3 press conference [1:23:59 in], Oculus announced ‘Oculus Touch’ – wireless handsets for interacting with virtual reality experiences. One of the features was described as the ability to feel objects in virtual 3D space using haptic feedback:

Touch also includes haptics that developers can use to deliver feedback when you're interacting with objects in the virtual world so that you can actually feel the things you are touching.

Following on from my ‘Bumpy Pixels’ name, maybe Oculus Touch will mean ‘Bumpy 3D pixels.’

‘Heavy’ video clips

When it comes to Mac, PC and TV applications that might mean giving different textures to different UI elements or user content.

For example, if I have a long list of video clips, it would useful to use one hand to quickly scroll them past the other, which would be able to ‘feel’ information about the clips going by. Most clips would feel smooth under my finger tips. The more highly rated a clip was, the more ‘sticky’ it could be made to feel.

Force feedback could also cue you as to the length of a clip - longer files could be made to feel ‘heavier’ as I move them around.

What different textures do your fingertips feel in daily life? What associations would you like to give them in the applications you use?

  • Categories: UI