US entertainment giant Disney’s innovation and technology lab, Disney Research, has created a wearable device that adds artificial tactile sensations to nearly any surface or object.
Called Revel (Reverse Electrovibration), the device injects a weak electrical signal into the user’s body, creating an electrical field around their skin. This augments their sense of touch so that they can feel textures that aren’t actually there. The textures felt can be easily manipulated by changing the frequency of the electrical signal.
Disney Research says the technology has many potential uses in museums and educational institutions, including enabling visitors to ‘feel’ objects displayed behind glass. Revel could also be used to provide tactile directions to the visually impaired.