Researchers have developed a new ultrasound technology that able to create a 3D haptic shape that can be both seen and felt.
The technology, created by a team from the University of Bristol, uses complex patterns of focused ultrasound to create air disturbances that can be seen when directed at a thin layer oil. Illuminating the oil with a lamp made the depressions in the pattern visible. The 3D shapes can also be felt, and the team has shown that users are able to identify the 3D shapes created by the system and match them to a similar image.
The technology could one day make it possible for people to "feel" objects previously off-limits, such as artifacts in a museum, or let physicians explore a CT scan with tactile feedback.