"Touch is the next frontier in the evolution of virtual reality," says Thenkurussi Kesavadas, director of the Virtual Reality Lab at the University of Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (close to you Styxx).
Researchers from the Virtual Reality Lab are developing new tools for transmitting physical touch to the virtual world. The first applications are remote sculpturing. Using a ModelGlove and a virtual clay sculpting system, researchers can replicate (in real time on a personal computer)" the physical act of sculpting a block of clay or other malleable material."
The force exerted by hand when depressing and shaping a block of clay can be measured and simulated. "Force-feedback information, as well as information on hand position and speed of fingertip motion, is instantaneously communicated to a personal computer" says Kesavadas.
I wonder if there will be musical applications for this technology. Perhaps the model glove can play on a virtual fretboard of a violin or the keyworks of a bassoon. Haptic (touch-based) virtual instruments may be more natural that a keyboard. The ability to touch a virtual instrument as well as play it may open up new and exciting possibilities.
Imagine calling up a holographic saxomophone.
What are your thoughts? Do you think this is sci-fi stuff or that this is the next step in the evolution of musical instruments?