In the News

Reach Out and Touch Someone?
by Web Editor Kristy Bassuenerby
NEWS@2direct™, From Wireless Week

What if you really could send loved ones a hug, squeeze and kiss over the phone? RealTimeTouch of Alpine, Calif., is taking AT&T’s old slogan “reach out and touch someone” to a new level.

The company unveiled a technology it says will enable wireless devices to send and receive instant person-to-person touch transmissions as well as facilitate multi-player computer games on mobile Internet devices.

“An example,” a company statement says, could be “a husband and wife who have been notified of a crisis… In order to reassure his wife, the husband squeezes his phone. His wife immediately feels her husband’s touch as the phone expands in her hand.”

Isn’t that kind of… odd? No, says Craig Linden of RTT. “Ninety percent of face-to-face communication relies on other signals like body language or [facial expressions],” he says. “That’s totally missing in our remote communications.”

The company has hopes for the application in the medical field as well, although Linden acknowledges that convincing manufacturers to build an “ideal phone” for the touch function will be an uphill battle.

“Our first phase will be to reprogram the vibrate feature on handsets for users to send signals at will,” Linden says.

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