Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Touch-screen interface that lets you "feel" objects

Topographic maps could really let you feel their topography. Image: Disney Research
We perceive variations in an object’s surface by detecting changes in friction on our fingertips. The interface simulates these variations through a series of low voltage electric currents that cause vibrations in your fingertips. In its most basic form, the system involves an insulated electrode paired with an electronic driver to create the voltage patterns.

Researchers at Disney are working on a touchscreen interface that lets user "feel" objects. The interface allows you to feel properties of objects, for example bumps, ridges, textures, and protrusions.

Additionally, Disney research is also working on using air cannons to simulate touching digital objects: http://www.wired.com/design/2013/07/disneys-tiny-amazing-air-cannons-will-let-you-feel-the-digital-world/

Brain-stimulation headset to improve learning?

Foc.us headset
The headset from foc.us promises to "overclock your brain using Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation" (basically a light electroshock that supposedly increases your focus). The cost of the headset is $249 (and sold out).

They are currently targeting pro-computer gamers. Could that headset also be used in education?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Animated maps of US Civil War battles

Animated US Civil War maps
The US Civil War Trust presents a collection of animated maps that bring battles of the American Civil War to life, complete with troop movement animations, narratives, video, and more. There are animated maps of the battles of Antietam, Gettysburg, Shiloh, Vicksburg and Chickamauga.