Wireless Physical Touch Adds Fun and Purpose
San Diego, CA
How many times have you been speaking with someone far away and said, “I wish I could be there to hold your hand as you go through this?” Your wish has come true! RealTimeTouch, a division of Design Systems Research & Development, is ready to bring this technology into our daily lives.
Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes. When it comes to telecommunications, where does the necessity lie? In bringing people who are distant closer together. We already have the ability to communicate by seeing (videophone and video conferencing) and the ability to hear (telephone calls and voice chat). New software is now on the market that will even allow us to smell via the Internet. But we are all still so distant. What’s lacking? This is a question Craig Linden, the founder of RealTimeTouch (RTT) asked himself.
The answers and solutions have come to Linden over the last few years. “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 Linden.
Forced feedback technology makes only a small dent in allowing the sense of touch. The problem with forced feedback is that it is limited to pre-programmed interactions with virtual objects on computer monitors. To make our communications “real”, our physical actions have to be live, real and coordinated with speech or audiovisual communications. This means developing ways to make touch spontaneous, quick and realistic – just like during face-to-face meetings.
RTT allows real-time, live, instantaneous two-way physical touch to be transmitted via wireless devices. The touches correspond with our speech in that they happen immediately – not “mechanically” or with prior programming. This not only applies to cell phones and pagers, but any RealTimeTouch enabled device. The technology now exists and is waiting for an entrance to the public.
When asked if markets exist for his technology, Linden replied, “Please just try explaining to a friend or coworker that a company in California has a technology, which will enable grandmothers in Sweden to hug their grandkids in America while video conferencing on the Web. Or explain that soon cell phones will transmit and receive our personal touch, in perfect coordination with our emotional verbal messages. I bet their reaction tells you a lot about the readiness of the marketplace.”
Is the market indeed ready? It would appear so! And not just the wireless market. This technology is amazing and its benefits reach far beyond wireless communications. Let’s take a peak at the future with the inclusion of RealTimeTouch technology.
www.realtimetouch.com(Personal) RTT’s future two-way pennant pager with GPS will let mom know where Johnny is whenever he simply gives the device a squeeze. Mom can give Johnny a love squeeze back ~ and his friends won’t be the wiser!
www.realtimetouch.com (Healthcare) You have a heart condition. You also live in a remote area. You phone your doctor because you aren’t feeling very well. Your symptoms may not sound alarming when you describe them, but you know if the doctor could feel the lack of strength in your hands and arms he would be concerned. If he felt how strange your heartbeat is, he would send an ambulance to take you to the hospital. With RTT technology, he can! RTT enabled devices, in conjunction with video conferencing, will bring an entirely new definition to the phrase “house call”.
www.realtimetouch.com (Entertainment) The Pope is planning a visit to the United States. During his stay, he will tour hundreds of cities. The streets will no doubt be lined with people as far as the eye can see. Needless-to-say, this is a security nightmare. Obviously, loyal followers will want to be as close to the Pope as possible. Imagine being able to have the best of both worlds. Keeping the Pope completely safe while, at the same time, allowing those who wish, to be “touched” by His Holiness. It’s possible with RealTimeTouch technology. Even our future president, Al Gore or George W. Bush, will be able to reach out and literally “touch” millions during their televised fireside chats.
www.realtimetouch.com (Education) Children in school, and adults in continuing education classes, learn better when they stay involved. Just imagine the students of a world history class. The lesson of the week regards the Great Wall of China. Students in France will be able to actually touch the Great Wall and feel the thrust of the Chinese professor’s fist, as she makes important historical points. This is just one example of physically enhanced distant learning.
www.realtimetouch.com(Telecom) Even though e-business is growing by leaps and bounds, one deterrent still remains. Conducting business via the Internet always seems like such a mystery. But now, when you make a decision to buy you can close the deal with a friendly “handshake” using the Internet or Active TV, along with RealTimeTouch enabled devices and services.
Are there other applications? Many - including real-time physically interactive games, toys, interactive television, advertising, entertainment and the military just to name a few.
What is Linden’s prediction for the future of RealTimeTouch? Simple. “I predict various types of RTT’s features will be quickly adopted by several growing and established markets. Once the early adopters experience the added real-time excitement and value of live interactive touch, they will want their friends and family to enjoy RTT also”.
Evidentially, Linden is right. After the publication of a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle featuring RTT technology, the RTT web site (www.realtimetouch.com) received over 13,000 hits within a matter of hours. The interest is definitely there. The next question for Craig Linden is, “which applications to prototype first”?
So, when will we be able to actually use RealTimeTouch technology? RTT currently holds pending patent rights in over 100 countries. Because RTT is not a manufacturer or service provider they will depend on other firms to incorporate the interactive features and functions into new and existing products and services. Beginning with cellular and paging devices, RealTimeTouch is looking to create partnerships and licensees who will bring this next big, value-added application to the wireless marketplace. Other markets (including wireless and wired devices) will follow.
Before you know it, RealTimeTouch devices and services will become a reality. Just think… you’ll be able to hug your daughter when she calls and announces, “It’s a boy”!