Technology Review: Augmented Reality: haptic flooring

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Researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Canada have developed floor tiles that can simulate the look, sound and feel of snow, grass or pebbles underfoot. Such a tool could perhaps be used for augmented reality applications, tele-presence, training, rehabilitation or even as virtual foot controllers. “The modular “haptic” floor tiling system is made up of a deformable plate suspended on a platform. Between the plate and platform are sensors that detect forces from the user’s foot. And the plate can give off vibrations that mimic the feeling of stepping on different materials. A top-down projection and speakers add visual and audio feedback… Yon Visell, a researcher at McGill's Center for Intelligent Machines and first author of the paper, says the tiles could be used "either for human computer interaction or immersive virtual reality applications."