This week, I wanted to post something different from my previous posts to write about. I feel I’ve been ignoring the “gadget” section of the site a bit too much. While searching around, I found the normal camera, cell phone (a NEW cell phone!?!?! REALLY!?!?!? HOW EXCITING!!!) and game reviews, but nothing that really caught my eye or ear. Until I ran into something that didn’t have to, this.
ViviTouch technology, developed by SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute) and commercialized by Artificial Muscle Inc., EAP (electroactive polymers) technology is now being used in a multitude of ways. Simply put, a piece of polymer film is placed between two electrodes. When a charge is applied to those electrodes, the film contracts. It gets flatter and expands in area. When done at high speed, it puts off vibrations. If this is all Greek to you, watch the video below, brought to you by the fine people at Vivitouch.
So, why should you care about this and how does it apply to your life? Well, if you’re an avid gamer, much like myself, this could be the Rumble Pak of this decade. It’s being developed for use with game controllers and peripherals. Imagine if you could tell who was calling you based on the way your phone vibrated. With a more sophisticated and compact vibration component, it’s entirely possible. Its been adapted for use on smartphones as well as tablets. Because there is no motor to spin weights, as with existing vibration technologies, it takes less power, which always comes at a premium with newer phones. Mophie currently has an add-on product out for the iPod touch that uses Vivitouch technology.
Not only good for gaming, EAP is also being researched for use in the fields of medicine, optics, robotics and energy. It’s already being used in remote controls, appliances, and vehicle control panels. It’s good to see that American ingenuity can drive us to reevaluate standard features and do something new with them. In the end, Vivitouch is far from Earth shaking, but we’ll all be feeling the effects in years to come.