UK developed hands-free interface demonstrated on Bosch concept car

A touch-free haptic control system that enables users to “feel” virtual buttons and dials in mid-air has been demonstrated onboard a Bosch concept car at this week’s CES exhibition in Las Vegas.

The Ultrahaptics system onboard a Bosch concept car

Developed by Bristol firm Ultrahaptics Ltd, and spun out of research carried out at Bristol University, the novel interface uses ultrasound to project sensations through the air, enabling users to “feel” buttons, dials and other objects in mid-air.

On the concept vehicle Bosch has used the technology to develop an advanced gesture control system for its infotainment system, with the haptic feedback used to reassure drivers that their hands are in the correct position to make an effective gesture command.

According to Bosch, the technology promises to make the use of gesture control systems safer as it reduces the need for drivers to take their eyes off the road and check the display visually.

Commenting on the latest application of his firm’s technology Steve Cliffe, CEO of Ultrahaptics, said “[it] demonstrates how touchless gesture-recognition can help car makers gain greater market acceptance for the incorporation of gesture control”.

Bosch is said to be working with Ultrahaptics on a number of other applications, whilst the Bristol firm is also exploring the potential of its technology across a range of industrial and consumer applications.