Computing KS3/4: Touching virtual objects

Professor Danielle George demonstrates how haptic technology lets you feel things that aren’t really there.

With the help of its inventor, Professor Sarah Baillie from the University of Bristol, she learns about the “haptic cow,” a teaching device for training vets how to feel if a cow is pregnant.

The haptic device clips onto her finger and restricts her hand movement, tricking her mind into believing that she is touching a solid object, when in fact it is the pressure from the haptic finger clip that is causing this sensation.

This is how the current generation of haptic technology works.

This clip is from The Royal Institute Christmas Lectures 2014.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 3 and 4:

This could be used to start a discussion on haptic technology. It allows you feel things that aren’t really there.

How could haptics be used in medicine to help people recover from operations more quickly?

How could haptics be used to make computer games more realistic?

Curriculum Notes

These clips will be relevant for teaching Computing, ICT and Computer Science at KS3 and GCSE/KS4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 2nd Level and National 4/5 in Scotland.

The topics discussed will support OCR, Edexcel, AQA,WJEC GCSE in GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland.

More from The Royal Institute Christmas Lectures 2014:

Feedback loops
How does a digital camera work?
How LED screens work
How robots can work together in a swarm
The Mars Rover and autonomous navigation
Solving a Rubik's cube by smartphone
What can 3D printing be used for?