How Haptics changed the game of Usability – UX Planet
Alphonse Chapanis proposed a solution that became a world standard in aviation after wartime, a shape coding that enabled to easily distinguish and identify controls function without looking at them, using only touch after his observations during world war II in which several bomber planes have suffered accidents due to difficulty in drawing the landing gear while landing. His observations retraced to a conclusion that accidents are occurred due to the placement of identical controls for flaps and landing gear side by side. During high cognitive and demanding situation, even highly trained pilots got confused and made mistakes.
This quick fix during the war consisted of gluing strips of rubber on the landing gear lever, giving it a grooved form, and shaping a wedge silhouette on the other control, reminiscent of the flap.
So, what exactly is Haptics ?
The haptic modality is the sense of touch which is utilized very limitedly in current human-computer interaction. Especially in mobile communication, the haptic modality could provide a means for richer multimodal and emotional communication between users over distance. Haptic user interface prototypes have been developed but their user experience has not been studied extensively. A Haptic interface is a user interface based on touch, using the movements of the user as input and the sense of touch as output (both tactile and kinesthetic feedback). Examples include force feedback joysticks and Braille screen readers.
What are Active and Passive Haptic systems
Interfaces using haptic controls that have attributes such as shape, texture, vibration, and resistance to movement etc.
Passive haptic systems are those systems that provide their feedback through haptic properties of mechanical systems, physical objects, and friction. For example, taking Interaction with a keyboard or mouse can be an apt and easy thing to understand. classic materiality of controls has not only found a better digital alternative in some cases (eg smartphone volume controls, mute button)
The system that generates its own feedback through any software or actuators which basically involves Vibration. Vibration has evolved from a “binary” use to more sophisticated implementations.
For example, we can use vibration patterns, playing with frequency and amplitude to encode messages far beyond a yes / no warning. The number of patterns (also called haptic icons, tactons or hapticons) we are able to differentiate is striking.
The use of vibration as a means to simulate mechanical feedback has become popular.
Role of haptics in Usability
Capacitive touch interfaces are replacing mechanical switches, knobs, and dials in consumer, automotive, industrial and medical applications. Capacitive touch sensors have gained popularity due to their aesthetic value, increased reliability, and reduced manufacturing/tooling cost. User interfaces with capacitive touch sensing have also been shown to improve the user experience as well as increase a product’s lifespan because there are no mechanical components to fail.
Transitioning from mechanical buttons, knobs, and dials to a capacitive touch interface, however, poses a challenge to designers because there is no tactile feedback present with capacitive touch sensors as exists with mechanical buttons and switches. For example, consider the experience of typing on a keyboard. When a key is pressed and released, it bounces back due to spring action. A person can feel the force of the key bouncing back with his or her finger and thereby confirm the key press. With a capacitive touch interface, there is no inherent mechanical feedback, and users do not have the same experience as that of mechanical keys. The absence of tactile feedback poses a challenge to designers in that their primary goal is to improve the user experience. Through haptics technology, developers can provide tactile feedback, improve the user experience, and add value to products
How to Involve Haptics in User Experience
Haptics technology is a tactile feedback technology that uses a person’s sense of touch to provide feedback by applying forces, vibrations, or motion to the user. A simple example of haptics technology is the vibration alert used in mobile phones and tablets. When the mobile phone is in vibrate mode, the device is vibrated using an actuator to alert the user of an incoming call or message even when the user is not looking at the screen.
Clearly, haptic feedback is useful for many types of mobile applications. Here are some of its possible applications:
- An affirmative response to ‘Pull to Refresh’
- Sliders and Switches
- Option Scrolling (such as selecting your state from a list)a
- Keyboard Clicking
- Response to long presses (accessing extra options on a Pinterest card)
- Pinch to Zoom (at minimum and maximum)
- During gameplay (attacks, gaining lives, passing levels)
Differentiating Haptic feedback with vibrations
This is often an area of confusion, especially because there are no strict guidelines as to what separates the two. In truth, they are both very similar. The difference between haptics and vibration alerts can be found by the complexity of the vibration pattern.
Although they both use vibrations to communicate with the user, the key difference is that haptic feedback devices often use a variety of advanced waveforms to convey information to the user. Vibration alerting products are less complicated and are generally designed to produce a strong enough vibration to alert the user of an event.
magine a reversing car’s parking sensor whereupon coming within 50 cm of an object the steering wheel begins to vibrate. This is an example of vibration alerting as it notifies the user of an event with a simple vibration pattern. In reality, the driver would prefer to know how far they are from the object. With haptic feedback, we can transmit this information to the driver by varying the vibration strength or frequency over a range of distances. This also removes the high pitched beeping found on current sensors and ensures the driver can use the parking sensor if they are in a loud environment or hard of hearing.
Updates in the world of Haptics
Apple the tech giant first introduced Multi-touch that brought about a revolutionary change in the way we navigate apps using Tap, Swipe, and Pinch on iOS devices. No wonder the touch technology instantly won over iPhone and iPad users.
Then came Force Touch a pressure-sensitive technology which distinguishes between different levels of force applied to the device. Using Force Touch technology, users are able to carry out certain tasks quickly. As for instance, you can force click reminders and dates to expand them and be able to perform more actions.
Taking the Force Touch technology to an altogether new level, Apple launched 3D Touch on its new devices. Being more sensitive than Force Touch, 3D Touch has been developed to work using capacitive sensors integrated into the display. In terms of functionality, 3D Touch is really smart. It allows you to carry out certain tasks instantly through quick actions.
You don’t need to launch an app to carry out commonly-used actions. As for instance, if you want to take a selfie, you don’t need to launch the Camera app. A simply light press on the Camera app, you get the option to Take Selfie right on your Homescreen.
Force Touch is smart enough to detect the pressure applied on the screen. It can detect not just multiple touches on the screen but can also calculate the difference in pressure on various points of the screen. However, while reacting to your touch, Force Touch is not as fast as 3D Touch. The lightning fast response of the 3D Touch is because of the fusion of capacitive sensors and strain gauges. This fusion is perfected by the “Taptic Engine”.
Apple now came up with haptic touch feature that lets you get some of the same functionality as 3D Touch without having the specialized hardware.
Alert Shirt apparently first of its kind wearable t-shirt that let you feel like you are part of the soccer game. The wearer of this t-shirt would feel all things like players colliding, to a spiking heart rate, when the clock’s running down and exhausted lungs after a long sprint.
This shirt is developed using haptics to enable the viewer to feel the stadium atmosphere.
For complete information please read Click Here
For many sight-impaired individuals, the sense they rely on most is one that tends to be ignored by a lot of tech-based solutions: touch. It’s a subtle way to convey a lot of information, and the design company WearWorks is looking to take advantage of this with its new haptic wristband, guiding people around via simple vibrational cues. Click Here for Complete Info.
Tesla suit motion capture system uses sensors to transfer the precise position of the body into virtual environments. The full-body haptic feedback and motion capture in a thermo-controlled suit takes the wearer even deeper into a virtual world. Read More
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Authors : Jagadeesh Kampara and Sourabh Purwar