A new display technology lets users touch and interact with a tactile virtual object.

Virtual spaces are seeping out of the screen and increasingly mixing with the physical world at large. Hideki Koike and his team at the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo are helping expedite this transformation with their rubber touch display.

Using a combination of an overhead camera, an LCD panel and clear rubber, the system recognizes movements and changes the embedded imagery accordingly. The combination of reactive imagery and tactile response make for a robust sensory interface. Future plans include embedding the camera in the LCD screen to prevent errors from the user’s hand blocking the overhead camera.

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