Something even more exciting for the world of virtual reality porn than the shipping of the Oculus Quest too took place this week. At least, perhaps in the long run. Because it appears that we are a big step closer to ‘touchable holograms’, something that will lead to ultra-realistic haptic touch in virtual and augmented reality. It’s all very scientific, of course, but in essence, the reason we experience ‘touch’ is because of vibrations against the skin (I remember being aghast in a physics lesson back in school when my teacher explained it in a way which left me feeling – perhaps correctly – that ‘touch’ is all constructed in the mind, at least as much as say our experience of ‘color’ is).
As touch is really ‘vibrations’ felt by the layers of the skin, these should in theory be replicable without any actual physical object doing the touching. And the boffins seem to be making very good progress to that end, utilizing ultra-sound technology to create the vibrations. But the big breakthrough this week appears to have been a leap forward in precisely understanding how these vibrations create our particular and varied sensations of touch. Anyway, you can read and interpret the findings yourself at source, as well as reports on the findings at sites such as Next Big Future.
Researchers in Japan have also been working on very similar tech for the last decade and more.
If scientists do figure out a way to completely replicate touch in virtual worlds, then one wonders whether people will even want things such as sex robots, or for that matter, ‘real’ physical contact with others, when the same sensations can come easier in much more beautiful and sexier virtual worlds.
In related news, BT is collaborating with a British company to deliver immersive live hologram tech, which would allow sporting events to be streamed on a table in 3D.