The video above shows a system utilizing the Nintendo Wii Remote, an airborne ultrasound display, and holographic unit, to produce Touchable Holography. The demonstration includes a holographic ball which can be moved by pushing it with the hand, or laying your palm flat and it being dropped and bouncing off.
This interaction alone is impressive, but the researchers went one step further and added touch feedback so you can “feel” what is happening too. This is achieved with the airborne ultrasound display matching what is happening with the hologram. The ultrasound waves can apply a force of 1.6 grams and can be directed on to a 20mm area making it quite accurate.
Examples include holographic rain drops falling on an open palm which you can apparently feel. A small animal also runs around your hand with the touch matching the movement.
Sony has a patent that may take game playing to a whole new level. The patent covers the use of ultrasound to target areas of the brain in order to create the experience of seeing images, experiencing tastes, and hearing sounds. The technology would use ultrasound pulses to modify firing patterns within the human brain to create those experiences. The patent application was filed in 2000, awarded in March 2003, and has been updated steadily (most recently in December of last year). Though exciting, the patent has not been utilized in any experiments to test its validity. If the patent is one day used in an actual device, we may see the PlayStation Portable (see our review) offer a whole new level of entertainment for its users. It's also feasible that the technology could eliminate the need for physical displays on mobile devices, relying instead on images beamed into the brain.