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Haptic Technology – Feeling the Future Essay

What is haptic technology? It’s the technology relating to or based on the sense of touch. We see it every day with our touch screen phones. It is needed to interact with your phone, computer, keyboard, mouse, car, gaming system and more! It can also be used in medicine, robotics, art, design, electronics, toys, and more! Where is the technology feeling to go? What is haptic feedback? What is haptic feedback? Haptic feedback the shake of your gaming console’s remote, the vibration of your phone, clicking of the keyboard and mouse. the interaction of touch and response (Figure 1).

How does this correlate with human memory?  Memory has several categories. There is long-term memory, short-term and sensory memory. Each one plays an important part of overall memory. “They all cooperate in the process of memorization, and can be seen as three necessary steps in forming a lasting memory” (Mastin, 2012). Haptic technology uses sensory memory. What is sensory memory?  According to Mastin, sensory memory is the shortest-term element of memory. “It is the ability to retain impressions of sensory information after the original stimuli have ended.

It acts as a kind of buffer for stimuli received through the five senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch” (Mastin, 2012). Touch is the key word in haptic technology. How will this technology change the way we interact with computer? The interactions of computer and humans are known as human-computer-interface (HCI). Human-computer-interface (HCI) developers and engineers goals are to improve the user’s overall experience. This can be accomplished by creating a lasting memory for the end user and a good feeling of using the technology known as haptic technology.

What is HCI? HCI is the study on how to better improve the interaction between human and computers. For example – Human Machine Symbiosis Laboratory – Department of Biomedical Informatics – Arizona State University conducted a study on the Psychology of Haptics, Haptic User Interfaces and Human Motion Analysis. Their main goal for the haptic user interface study is to design effective and efficient interfaces; in psychology of haptics study they focused on the role of haptic modality in formation and retention of memory and categorization; and in the human motion study they concentrated on gesture analysis.

Human computer interaction (HCI) has emerged as a focal area of both computer science research and development, and of applied social, behavioral and psychological research” (Kahol, 2010). The research team in Arizona State University focused on memory and categorization controlled experiments using mechanisms of haptic memory and categorization. They also explored whether individuals who were blind and sighted can abstract a haptic prototype from a study set; the nature of haptic space through multidimensional scaling; and haptics in early detection of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

The Arizona State University research team are concerned with design, development and testing of tactile and force feedback devices and its associated software(s). “These devices have widespread applications such as surgical simulations, medical and procedural training, scientific visualizations, assistive and rehabilitative devices for individuals who have physical or neurological disorders and assistive devices for individuals who are blind” (Kathol, 2010). The human motion research field is guided towards understanding human motion through gesture analysis.

The research team from Arizona State University has developed novel gesture segmentation and gesture recognition tools for understanding and modeling human motion. They plan to develop scalable gesture segmentation and gesture recognition tools. They plan to apply the models to generic human motion as well as specialized human motion as in dance and in various scenarios such as surveillance, human computer interfaces and 3D Dance motion. Once these devices are implemented, they must remain consistent. Why you ask?

Image a medical procedural being done on you. The doctor is located in different part of the world and is using new technology which allows him to operate remotely, but wait. The controls he is using are not consistent with the standard controls accepted in the USA. Will you risk your life on this doctors questionable HCI? I know I wouldn’t. Designing the right HCI is key to any successful implementation of new technology. What are some design factors to consider in the implementation of HCI and where does the future of HCI feel to go?

Figure 2 – User-Centric Design (SAP, 2013) One possible design process we can use is UCD. What is is UCD? User-centered design (UCD) is a design methodology and process that focuses on the needs of end users, limitations of end users, preferences of end users, and business objectives (USABILITY, 2013). The UCD has several components: plan, research, design, adapt, and measure (Figure 2). “Plan – In the Plan phase, the team determines all of the UCD activities and ensures that the necessary resources are available.

Research – Before you can design a product, it is imperative that you have a clear understanding of the users’ goals and tasks, the market needs, and related work. Design – In the design phase, you define your system from the users’ perspective. Initially, this phase takes the form of use cases and an object action model, which describes the tasks that the system will support. From these tasks you create UI designs, beginning with rough sketches and ending with detailed UI design specifications. Adapt – The adapt phase acknowledges that even the best conceived designs often need to be adapted when development begins coding.

This adaptation can occur as a result of unforeseen limitations in the target technology, new requirements, or missing functionality in the initial design. Measure – When the product is released, it is possible to measure its usability quantitatively. These tests measure a product’s effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction” (SAP, 2013) HCI FUTURE Microsoft researchers wrote Being Human – Human Computer Interaction in the Year 2020. In the paper they state: “HCI needs to extend its methods and approaches so as to focus more clearly on human values.

This will require a more sensitive view about the role, function and consequences of design, just as it will force HCI to be more inventive. HCI will need to form new partnerships with other disciplines, too, and for this to happen HCI practitioners will need to be sympathetic to the tools and techniques of other trades. Finally, HCI will need to re-examine and reflect on its basic terms and concepts. Outdated notions of the ‘user’, the ‘computer’ and ‘interaction’ are hardly sufficient to encompass all that HCI will need to attend to” (Microsoft, 2008).


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