General

How do I get an Ultrahaptics device?

You can engage with Ultrahaptics through our Evaluation Program or by purchasing the TOUCH Development Kit. Our Evaluation program gives you access to our flagship Evaluation Kit UHEV1 – capable of creating up to eight control points at up to 16kHz with our Time Point Streaming (TPS) technology – and three days of on-site support.

The TOUCH Development Kit, supporting four control points with Amplitude Modulation, can be purchased through our distributor EBV and, in Japan through Cornes Technologies.

Sign up here to join our Evaluation Program. Alternatively, for those based in Japan, please contact Cornes Technologies at ctl-comm@cornes.jp.

What is haptics?

Read this great article from our colleague Dr Brygida Dzidek on haptics.

What is Ultrahaptics?

Ultrahaptics has developed a unique technology that gives tactile feedback – haptics – without the need to wear or touch anything. Using ultrasound, it projects sensations through mid-air directly onto your hand, allowing you to ‘feel’ and interact with virtual objects, touch-less buttons and controls, and experience feedback for mid-air gestures.

How can I feel an invisible tactile sensation?

Ultrahaptics uses ultrasound to create and manipulate focused points of high acoustic pressure. These Control points can be moved around in real-time to interact with our hands to create a sensation. The surface of the hands are covered with sensitive nerve endings called mechanoreceptors. Because these are not sensitive to a constant high pressure the control points are manipulated, either by moving them – Spatio-Temporal Modulation – or changing their intensity with a lower frequency wave – Amplitude Modulation.

Ultrahaptics Acoustic field

You can read more about tactile sensations, mechanoreceptors and how they relate to our technology here.

The Leap Motion® camera module, or any third part tracking system, provides the position of the hands and fingers. Combined with Ultrahaptics’ API, the control points can be moved around to follow the hand, creating patterns and sensations.

Is everyone’s sensitivity to Ultrahaptics the same?

The sensitivity of the palm of the hands can vary between individuals, based on age, health and condition of the skin. However, with some learning and “tuning” of your perception, your sensitivity to Ultrahaptics can be increased.

Can my sensitivity to Ultrahaptics change?

Your age can affect your perception of the mid-air haptics provided by Ultrahaptics, and this may change your sensitivity as you become older. However, much like your sense of hearing and smell, tuning yourself to the Ultrahaptics sensations has a greater effect on improving your sensitivity than any age related changes.

Is there any difference in sensitivity to Ultrahaptics between men and women?

Independent of skin condition and hand size, there is no significant evidence of differences in sensitivity between men and women.

Can I use Ultrahaptics with gloves?

Ultrasound, at the frequencies used by Ultrahaptics, does not readily pass through solids and is quickly absorbed by thick fabrics such as leather, wool or cotton. However, if the material is thin enough and perforated, sensations can still be felt.

We have also found that Ultrahaptics works very well with thin rubber gloves, i.e. Latex or nitrile surgical gloves. The ultrasound will work best if the gloves are tight fitting or taught across the palm.

What is the resolution of the Ultrahaptics system?

Each of our Ultrahaptics kits come with the Leap Motion® camera module and an ultrasound array. The Leap Motion® camera module uses visible and infrared light to track hand position and as such, has a very high resolution, typically sub-millimetre. You can read more about how the Leap Motion® camera module works here.

The Ultrahaptics array uses ultrasound to create the control points felt by you in mid-air. The dimensions of the control points are determined by the wavelength of the ultrasound. Currently, our technology uses transducers with a frequency of 40kHz, i.e. a wavelength of approximately 8mm. So each control point will be approximately 8mm in diameter.

However, the Ultrahaptics array is capable of steering the position of these control points with a much higher resolution and at a very high update rate, allowing accurate placement of each on the fingers and hands and the creation of immersive and tangible haptic sensations.

What is the difference between TOUCH Development Kit and Evaluation Program?

Our knowledge base article on the Evaluation Program and TOUCH kit gives a great side-by-side introduction to the features of our current products.

How do I create my own Ultrahaptics sensations?

Use the Ultrahaptics API or the Sensation Editor and example reference code to integrate Ultrahaptics into your applications.

Our SDK comes with example code that shows you how to use both our Amplitude Modulation and Time Point Streaming APIs. With the TOUCH Development Kit, use Amplitude Modulation and directly define the strength, coordinates and modulation frequency of up to four control points, at up to twice the modulation frequency.

The Evaluation Kit supports the more advanced Time Point Streaming (TPS) API: up to 16kHz update rate and 8 control points. We also provide a Unity Game Engine library and example code. Read more about integration with Unity here.

With the Sensation Editor, generating and modifying sensations becomes a simple task. Available to all Ultrahaptics customers, use the Sensation Editor to export Ultrahaptics Sensation Packages and integrate into your application using our reference C/C++ example code.

 

Do you have a Linux SDK?

We are in the latter stages of developing our Linux SDK and expect to release it Q4 2017.

What language does the API use?

We currently provide Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in C++ and C# as part of our SDK.

C++ is the de facto industry standard for producing high performance applications across a multitude of platforms, be it consumer devices or embedded systems.

C# is highly suitable for developing sophisticated applications on host and embedded systems and is widely used on Microsoft Windows and many game development platforms, including Unity.

We also provide an integration package for the Unity Gaming Engine.

Where can I find project files for my IDE?

We include example code as part of the Ultrahaptics SDK to get you up and running. While we do not provide specific project files, we do include a CMake file – CMakeLists.txt – that can you can use to generate project files for your favourite Integrated Development Environment. Please read our Knowledge Base article on building the example code to find out more about CMake.

What’s in the Software Development Kit?

  • Ultrahaptics transducer array driver – host side application processing and USB communications
  • Tracking camera alignment files
  • Application Programming Interface (API), written in C++ and C#
  • Demo Application
  • Unity Game Engine library (separate download for Mac OS pre version 2.2.2)
  • Example application code illustrating Amplitude Modulation and Time Point Streaming
  • Documentation, including API, health and safety, alignment and installation.

Where can I find documentation?

A User Guide is provided to help get you started and describes the kit contents, setup and how to register your kit on the Ultrahaptics developers’ site. Once registered you can download the SDK which comes with a complete suite of detailed documentation. After unzipping the downloaded SDK bundle, locate and open ‘Documentation.html’ at the root of the installation bundle. There you will find all the usage, installation instructions and the API. In addition, you will have access to an up-to-date range of Knowledge Base articles on the developer site.

Where can I find my serial number?

There are a number of places for locating your serial number, depending on which kit you have:

  • For the TOUCH Development Kit, there is a label on the back of the smaller logic board. Serial numbers begin UHDK5-00.
    Ultrahaptics TOUCH Logic Board
  • For the Evaluation Kit, the serial number can be found on a white label on the bottom of the logic board or on the original box. Some older kits may not have a visible label on the board.
  • Using Sensation Editor, connect your device and hover over the device icon in the top-left corner of the viewing panel.
  • For older, pre-label Evaluation Kit owners, you can use the Sensation Editor. If you don’t have access to the Sensation Editor, please contact us at licensing@ultrahaptics.com.

 

I’m having a problem with my kit? How do I get support?

We hope that you will find all the information to get you up and running here, but if you’re still having problems you can contact us directly by clicking the “Raise a support ticket” button at the bottom of developer homepage*.

Please provide a detailed description of your issue – serial number, platform, nature of the problem and any steps that lead to it – and the Ultrahaptics support team will endeavour to respond to you within two working days.

Evaluation Program (UHEV) members should contact us at support@ultrahaptics.com

 

How should the transducer array be oriented?

There are no restrictions on the orientation of the array itself, but the array must not be covered by any solid materials and the area between array and hand must not be obstructed. The hand will also need to be clearly visible to the tracking camera and, for the optimal Ultrahaptics experience, the palm of the hand should face the array.

Can we create our own products using Ultrahaptics technology?

While the Evaluation Kit and Development Kit are not designed for end-use products, we encourage our customers to use them in their demonstration and proof-of-concept applications. You can find some tips and guidance about doing this here. We provide the Sensation Editor and reference code example, as well as the SDK and API, allowing customers to implement their own sensations and applications. We also provide additional support to customers who wish to integrate Ultrahaptics into end-use products or with developing custom form factors, as part of our NRE services. Contact us at info@ultrahaptics.com for more information.

What is Amplitude Modulation?

Ultrahaptics uses high frequency ultrasound to transmit sensations to the surface of the hand. The surface of the skin is not sensitive to ultrasound alone and is therefore modulated at a much lower frequency, which the hand is sensitive to. This is called Amplitude Modulation (AM).

Ultrahaptics uses Amplitude Modulation to refer to its first-generation modulation scheme. This uses a fixed modulation frequency – control point positions and intensity can be updated at this frequency, requiring less processing power than Time Point Streaming. Many of the sensations used in our demo suite and the Sensation Editor use AM, and is supported by both the Evaluation and Development Kits.

What is Time Point Streaming?

Time Point Streaming (TPS) is an advanced mode of operation, available on the Evaluation Kit (UHEV1), that allows for a continuously changing signal to be sent to the Ultrahaptics array: A sensation signal can be sent in real-time using an API callback at a much higher rate (16kHz) than with the fixed frequency AM scheme. Giving the user direct control over the signal, it unlocks the possibility of using Amplitude Modulation as well as Spatio-Temporal Modulation to create new sensations and virtual shapes and surfaces.

Can I use a different hand tracking camera?

While both the Evaluation and Development Kit come packaged with a calibrated Leap Motion Controller, any third-party camera tracking system that provides spatial coordinates can be used*. You will need to create an alignment .xml file to match your alternative tracking system with Ultrahaptics’ coordinate systems. Please see the SDK documentation for details.

*Please note that the demo suite will only operate with the Leap Motion Controller.

Can I cover or hide the transducer array?

The Ultrahaptics system relies on generating an acoustic field in space using ultrasound. The array should not be obstructed by solid surfaces or anything that interferes with the interaction space.

However, Ultrahaptics provides an additional cover materials kit for the TOUCH Development Kit – UHDK5-CM1 – containing a selection of splash proof gauzes and perforated steel covers to protect the array.

The kit is available through our distributors EBV (Worldwide) and, in Japan, Cornes. We can also evaluate materials for you as part of our engineering services.

Can I see the effect of Ultrahaptics?

The Ultrahaptics system generates an acoustic field in space using ultrasound to create a mid-air sense of touch. We use graphics and imagery on much of our website and marketing material to help you visualise different applications and concepts. Immersion Research have used Ultrahaptics with Microsoft’s HoloLens to create haptic feedback for holograms and holographic displays.

Ultrahaptics has investigated several ways of demonstrating the effect visually. We’ve found that it can be best seen by disturbing the surface of a shallow bath of oil. You can see three shapes created with Time Point Streaming below.TPS oilbath

What is the minimum number of transducers required to feel a sensation?

The number of transducers required to create a sensation will depend on the specific application. With the existing transducers, the most basic sensations can be felt with approximately 80 transducers. More complex sensations, interaction zone and array form factor arrangements will all affect the minimum number of transducers required. We provide additional NRE services to simulate and design arrays based on your application requirements.

What kind of transducers are used on the Ultrahaptics platforms?

Currently, Ultrahaptics hardware uses Murata through-hole mounted, piezo transducers. These are readily available on the market and used in volume in automotive applications as parking sensors and proximity sonar. The size of the transducers is dictated by piezo technology and output power. Ultrahaptics is investing in researching alternative transducer technologies with a view to reducing size and manufacturing cost, while increasing output power and efficiency.

What size is the Ultrahaptics hardware?

The Evaluation Kit UHEV1 is a square array of 16 x 16 transducers with an area of 17 x 17cm.

The TOUCH Development kit UHDK5 is a square array with 192 transducers (14 x 14 minus four corners) and an area of 14.5 x 14.5cm. We supply the TOUCH UHDK5-AA1 rectangular 24 x 8 board as a separate accessory array for the UHDK5.

Can the array size be reduced?

The Evaluation and Development Kit are of fixed size and should not be broken apart or dismantled. However, your own application’s hardware may require a smaller layout: Array size is dictated by the number of transducers required, which is directly related to the size of the interaction zone and strength of sensation, while the spacing between transducers is dependent on the wavelength of the ultrasound. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the interaction space, the fewer transducers are needed.

Ultrahaptics is investing in new transducer technologies to reduce their size and improve power and efficiency. We provide additional engineering services to simulate and design arrays based on your application requirements.

You can read more about array form factors and interaction zones here.

The surface of my Ultrahaptics array is very warm. Is this normal?

Because of the nature of the transducers used by Ultrahaptics and the high output levels required, heat can build up if the array is continuously outputting ultrasound. This is quite normal but you should keep in mind that the array should be well ventilated, particularly if building it into an enclosure. The TOUCH Development Kit is designed to detect thermal build-up and to protect the device from damage will stop emitting if the transducer or logic board surfaces exceed 80C and 65C respectively.

The board will begin operating once the temperature has fallen to 5C below these thresholds.

Is Ultrahaptics technology protected?

Since 2009, Ultrahaptics and its founders have invested significant resources in the original research, development and commercialisation of mid-air ultrasonic-based haptic systems and believe this investment has put it far ahead of any other developments in this space.

We have a significant customer base in automotive, consumer electronics, industrial and gaming markets where Ultrahaptics has a number of technology licensees. We would very much welcome a discussion with any potential customer becoming a licensee of Ultrahaptics’ technology.

Ultrahaptics innovations are protected through extensive intellectual property rights including a comprehensive and growing worldwide patent portfolio. Ultrahaptics has filed numerous other pending patent filings in the United States and other countries that are still confidential.