Sony Plans On Revamping Sound Feedback With Proposed Ultrasonic Haptic Patent

A recently published Sony patent appears to revolutionize tactile feedback in sound.

Haptics is a rapidly expanding topic in the gaming industry thanks to the popularity of virtual reality and players’ desire to feel their virtual environments as viscerally as they see and hear them.

The use of haptic feedback significantly but subtly improves immersion. Currently, it primarily mainly applies to console games. Due to their widespread appeal, console developers are in fierce competition with one another regarding haptic technology. The most recent example is Sony.


Major Takeaways:

  • In a recent patent, Sony introduces ultrasonic haptic interface technology.
  • The goal is to increase immersion so that users may engage with virtual reality on a greater scale.
  • The implementation enables higher coverage over longer distances, enabling a user to expand an appendage into a bigger area.

A recently published Sony patent appears to advance tactile feedback in sound. The patent, which is supposedly for an “ultrasonic mid-air haptic interface,” looks to be oriented toward augmented and virtual reality to boost the player’s sense of sound immersion.

As proposed by the patent, the deployment, permits coverage of greater distances and offers a wider variety of interactions, allowing a user to extend an appendage into a larger workspace while offering multiple points of comprehensive sensation or interaction without compromising user comfort with regard to any such interaction.

With the introduction of PlayStation Move and Virtual Reality, immersive gaming was elevated to an entirely new level. The PlayStation 5 title Astro’s Playroom is renowned for the way that every sound and movement can be felt and heard through the speakers and the controller.

It puts anyone participating in the game in a situation where a gust of wind or the sound of skates scratching the ice can be felt to be only a few feet away.

According to the patent’s description, users playing VR or other comparable games will feel more immersed through touch. Sounds in specific regions can assist players to feel more connected to the tale or evoke a stronger emotional response.

Within the field of invention, Sony describes the invention to be more specifically concerned with the use of ultrasonic energy to give users tactile sensations in mid-air while they interact with things in an immersive computing environment using their hands (or other body parts).

This figure from the patent illustrates a multi array ultrasound system for providing tactile mid air hepatic feedback
This figure from the patent illustrates a multi-array ultrasound system for providing tactile mid-air haptic feedback

People who play VR games would have a greater sense of their surroundings in-game with the use of this technology. In-game collisions with walls, for example, produce an ultrasonic sound current that gives the player the impression that they are actually touching the wall. The patent claims that this permits a wider application of such technologies.

“There is a need in the art for a mid-air haptic interface that imparts a degree of realism equal to that implemented by an immersive computing experience without the need for complex physical installations or other custom-designed venues.”

Perhaps, the Sony ultrasonic haptic invention will achieve its objective and enable individuals to experience virtual reality more fully at home rather than at an amusement park or another such setting. But for the time being, all we can do is watch to see whether Sony ever develops such technology.

Update: The patent has since been taken down from the official Scribd website and is no longer viewable

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Matt Toledo


Matt is a student from the US. He is an avid gamer and is interested in the intersection of the gaming industry and finance. He is a fan of Halo, Mass Effect and Star Wars

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