“AIREAL: Tactile Gaming Experiences in Free Air” by Sodhi, Glisson and Poupyrev

  • ©Rajinder Sodhi, Matthew Glisson, and Ivan Poupyrev

  • ©Rajinder Sodhi, Matthew Glisson, and Ivan Poupyrev


Entry Number: 02


    AIREAL: Tactile Gaming Experiences in Free Air



    Interactions with our computers have expanded into the physical world. Recent developments of low-cost gesture tracking technologies, like the Microsoft Kinect, have enabled millions of users to interact with their computers by gesturing with their bodies. Furthermore, computer vision tracking and registration techniques now enable novel projection based displays to overlay projected images into our physical environments, creating entirely new augmented reality experiences. These natural interfaces will continue to be incorporated into our mobile devices enabling rich interactive experiences anywhere and at anytime. However, one missing piece to this emerging world of natural interfaces is the absence of physical feedback.

    AIREAL is a technology that delivers interactive tactile experiences in free air. Currently, users are still required to wear a physical device (e.g., gloves, belts, vests) to receive tactile feedback. The need to instrument users hinders natural user interaction and limits the range of applications that can effectively employ tactile feedback. With AIREAL, interactive tactile sensations can be created in free air using compressed air pressure fields that stimulate the user’s skin. AIREAL is designed to use vortices, which are rings of air that can travel large distances while keepings its shape and speed (Figure 1a). Importantly, AIREAL does not require the user or a physical object to be instrumented with a device. AIREAL is a scalable, inexpensive and a practical free air haptic device that can be used in a broad range of applications. These include gaming, mobile applications, gesture control and interaction among many others.


    SODHI, R., GLISSON, M., POUPYREV, I. AIREAL: Interactive Tactile Experiences in Free Air (Submitted to Proc of SIGGRAPH, 2013).

    WILSON, A.D AND BENKO, H. 2010. Combining Multiple Depth Camera and Projectors for Interactions On, Above and Between Surfaces. In Proc. of UIST’10, ACM, 273-282.


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