RealTimeTouch makes communications more physical
by Aina Johnsen
In the future you might close your business contract with a real hand shake, even though the deal is done by your vibrating cell phone.
It may sound like sci-fi, but it may actually be coming soon, to a mobile near you. Californian firm RealTimeTouch (RTT) has launched a technology letting you do just that. The system allows instantaneous two-way communication via wireless devices, but using touch rather than speech. This not only applies to cell phones and pagers, but any RTT-enabled device.
You use an RTT device in much the same way you shake somebody´s hand. You squeeze your phone and it transfers the movement and force into a digital or analog signal. An existing communications carrier is used to transmit the output data signal to the other device. The second person’s RTT phone receives the signal and turns it back into a shaking or vibrating movement.
RTT has a broad vision for applying virtual touch. Imagine a child being able to squeeze her beeper to return her mother’s page rather than having to find a telephone. Imagine the same pager or cell phone also updating the child’s location for mum.
“Live two-way touch is the missing link in the remote communication chain. Face-to-face communication is as good as it gets. However, the communication devices that are readily available today don’t allow actual, person-to-person physical touch to take place. In order to improve upon remote communications, the sense of live person-to-person touch has to be added”, says Craig Linden, the founder of RealTimeTouch
Killer application for games
This technology might transform games, with RTT RealTimeTouch bringing on-line and offline games that much closer to virtual reality. Gamers can also use RTT real-time to “shake hands” after a game or give a slap on the back to the winner.
Nokia buys it (see note)
Nokia has already given RTT a big thumbs-up by using it in the Nokia 3310. The phone has integrated interactive tactile technology that allows vibrations to enhance mobile gaming. Nokia says: “Mobile gaming is simply electrifying with the Nokia 3310. The new vibra feature makes the phone vibrate at critical moments in gameplay - so you´ll know when you´ve been blasted by aliens in the cool Space Impact game, or when you hit the walls in Snake II!”
Following Nintendo and Playstation
"This new technology will probably bring some important changes to gaming on mobile phones", Thorsten Burkard, games developer with WAP gaming company Ludiwap told WAP.com. Time will show if RealTimeTouch manage to bring the technology to toys, health care and business people. Nevertheless, the kids will love RealTimeTouch, as they already knows the technology from Playstation and Nintendo, giving them the opportunity to get ‘shaken’ by an alien with the biggest gun ever seen in this universe.”
There is no business relationship between RealTimeTouch and Nokia.