Not everyone’s satisfied with TVs, projectors, and computer monitors as the be-all end-all of multimedia. Last week, these people converged in Los Angeles for the first annual Immersive Tech Summit. What is immersive technology, exactly? From what I could tell, it was a lot of augmented reality, virtual reality, and audio-visual installations that most consumers can’t afford, like this 50-foot dome-shaped theater. Read on for more scenes from this wild side of tech.
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Immersion is talking up the fact that its VibeTonz software — which allows the user to create personalized haptic effects — is shipped on one of the hottest new cellular phone in Korea right now, the Samsung Haptic 2. The device, which began shipping in late September, has already sold some 75,000 units in the first three weeks of release.
Of course, haptics is nothing new in cell phones. The simple act of the phone vibrating when a call or message is received is the most recognizable form of the technology. However, here Immersion is taking this one step further.
Instead of the simple buzz-buzz, users would be able to create personalized effects which then could be applied to various events. For example, a text message could have its own distinctive buzz, while various phone calls could have different types of rings. Think of them as ringtones you can’t hear. (Hmm, i wonder where they got the product name from.)
Other methods of use in the mobile space are for mobile gaming, giving game developers the option to build in haptics to their titles, and tactile responses to touchscreen, keypad, and button presses. Users would have control over these effects through a graphical user interface.
While VibeTonz has made it into other phones — 30 million according to Immersion — the Haptic 2 marks the first time that users have actually had personalization options. The company’s mobile chief Craig Vachon says user-defined haptics are “a step toward a completely new type of user-generated content.”
Personalization is a hot thing as of late, and this certainly seems interesting. While all our phones buzz, actually having the capability to customize them is pretty nifty. It would alleviate the need to check your phone every time it vibrates, because you will know before you even reach in your pocket if its worth it to look or not.