Virtual hugs, handshakes and other acts of digital affection are nothing new. We once had smileys to express them but with the rapid advancement in technology, we have newer telepresence tools to more accurately depict them. Microsoft has now been granted a patent which is titled ‘Force-feedback within telepresence.
The patent specifically deals with the ways in which actual physical actions can be translated across the internet between two persons. The telepresence tools today offer video chat and similar other services. Although we have seen more physical telepresence tools in recent past, Microsoft seems to have covered a lot more in its patent.
For instance, the company states that, “Hugs, hand-shakes, grabbing documents, writing on a whiteboard, and the like can be detected so a specific feedback force response is implemented.”
In other words, if you hug or shake the hand of a supported toy, the other person connected to your conversation can actually feel these actions over a long distance. What is rather interesting is that Microsoft seems to think it can somehow support a whole range of different feedbacks through its force-feedback system.
The company mentions that the feedback can include, “friction, haptic, tactile, electric feedback, electrical stimulation, three-dimensional feedback, vibration, shaking, physical resistance, temperature change, motion, noise, pressure, texture, a motion, a replication of touching, any combination thereof, and/or any other suitable feedback communicated via a device.”
If indeed Microsoft is able to devise such technologies which render this possible, that would be a truly extra-ordinary achievement by the software giant and would help wrap up the distance between loved ones far more effectively.