Skip to Content

Touch the person you’re Skyping with

A four-way video call on Skype.A four-way video call on Skype.
Now imagine if you could touch them.Photo courtesy Microsoft

New haptic technology could expand your Skype call from a face on a screen to an IRL-like encounter.

The HaptoClone uses a stripped-down box that look a lot like a 3D printer to recreate real items from one end as reconstructed “items” on the other end. The creation, which was developed by Shinoda Lab at the University of Tokyo, uses converged ultrasound to provide tactile feedback, reported Gizmodo.

That sounds complicated, but it essentially creates a physical illusion of an item in the box using a kind of adaptive forcefield. Meanwhile, mirrors help create a hologram visual that completes the 3D experience. It’s the same visual technology that was used to create the Tupac hologram.

In one video example, you can watch a real ball placed in one side show up on the other side as a replicant. Then a real ball is thrown against it, pushing it off the podium as if it were real. Pretty trippy.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nlnRpFoBLo]

Read more about the experience on Gizmodo.