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Rendering volumetric haptic shapes in mid-air using ultrasound: Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH Asia 2014

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Benjamin Long
  • Sue Ann Seah
  • Tom Carter
  • Sriram Subramanian
Original languageEnglish
Article number181
Number of pages10
JournalACM Transactions on Graphics
Issue number6
Early online date19 Nov 2014
DateE-pub ahead of print - 19 Nov 2014
DatePublished (current) - Nov 2014


We present a method for creating three-dimensional haptic shapes in mid-air using focused ultrasound. This approach applies the principles of acoustic radiation force, whereby the non-linear effects of sound produce forces on the skin which are strong enough to generate tactile sensations. This mid-air haptic feedback eliminates the need for any attachment of actuators or contact with physical devices. The user perceives a discernible haptic shape when the corresponding acoustic interference pattern is generated above a precisely controlled two-dimensional phased array of ultrasound transducers. In this paper, we outline our algorithm for controlling the volumetric distribution of the acoustic radiation force field in the form of a three-dimensional shape. We demonstrate how we create this acoustic radiation force field and how we interact with it. We then describe our implementation of the system and provide evidence from both visual and technical evaluations of its ability to render different shapes. We conclude with a subjective user evaluation to examine users’ performance for different shapes.

    Research areas

  • 3D haptic shapes, acoustic radiation forces, tactile displays

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  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: © ACM, 2014. This is the authors version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH Asia), Volume 33, Number 6, Article 181, Publication Date: November 2014.

    Accepted author manuscript, 13.4 MB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY-NC

  • Supplementary information JPG - Cover Image

    Rights statement: The images is for single-use only and should not be archived. Caption: Ultrasound is focused to create the shape of a virtual sphere. Credit: Image courtesy of Bristol Interaction and Graphics group, University of Bristol, copyright © 2014

    Accepted author manuscript, 2.56 MB, image/jpeg



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