REVEL: Programming Sense of Touch

  • What is REVEL?
    When the physical objects around us are infused with information and become interactive, how can they communicate with the user?
    REVEL overlays a layer of virtual tactile textures on everyday objects and environments allowing us to control what the user feels when they slide their fingers over them. Surfaces and objects such as walls, furniture, plastic or wooden objects, and even human skin can be augmented with artificial tactile sensations.
    A weak imperceptible electrical signal is injected anywhere on the user’s body, creating an oscillating electrical field around the user’s fingers. Objects are coated with conductive and dielectric layers so that when fingers slide across their surface, they become electrostatically attracted to each other and produce the sensation of a surface texture. By varying shape, amplitude, and frequency of the electrical signal we create distinctive tactile textures.
    Importantly, the objects themselves require no instrumentation or electrical power. Instead, the REVEL device is worn by the user, altering their tactile perception of the physical world. With minimal instrumentation, artificial tactile sensations can be added to almost any surface or object.
  • Publications, Awards
    Bau, O., Poupyrev, I. REVEL: tactile feedback technology for augmented reality. In Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH 2012, Article 89, 11p. [PDF].
    100 Outstanding Innovations 2013 by NetExplo / UNESCO.
    Winner, Entertainment Category World Technology Awards 2012.
    Team and Credits
    The REVEL technology has been developed in Disney Research Pittsburgh by Olivier Bau and myself, in collaboration with Mathieu Le Goc.
    Laureline Galliot and Matthew Glisson joined us for the design and production of the SIGGRAPH 2012 Emerging Technologies Installation.