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What Are Haptics – Everything You Need to Know

what are haptics?

Any form of interaction that involves touch comes under haptics. It also includes any communication via touch, as well as any technology that brings the sense of touch to users. We all have used haptic technology but we may not know it. Smartphones, touch screen displays, game controls, all these devices use haptics for delivering rich and engaging user interactions.

The term haptic is derived from a Greek word called “haptesthai”, which means to touch. It’s linked to the sense of touch. Scientists have been studying haptics for decades. They know a lot about the biology of touch. To keep it simple, haptic technology refers to any such technology that recreates the sense of touch in a user interface. The force applied, vibration, motion and other feelings provide information to the end-user.

What is Haptic Feedback?

If you are into the Internet for gaming, you must already be aware of haptic feedback. It’s becoming the buzzword among the PS5 and Xbox Series X users. That’s because it’s adding realism to the way we play games. It adds feelings into the game not emotionally rather, by offering physical feedback from the controllers.

Any gamer or a user with a mobile phone must know about the vibration feedback.  Whether you are texting or making a phone call, you sense a vibration. Haptic feedback is all about simulating what it would feel like to interact or touch with something in real life. The precision vibrations represent what’s happening in the game. But it doesn’t blast the user with vibrations of the controller, the feedback is more subtle. It ranges from something delicate like the splashing of the raindrops to something severe like an explosion.

Haptic Touch Vs Haptic Feedback

Haptic feedback and haptic touch are two different terms.  The tapping sensation you feel when you toggle settings or perform a task on your mobile phone is the feedback part. Let’s now answer your question, what is haptic touch? It’s a feature that lets you access quick action menu tapping and holding onto different elements on your phone.

How Does This Technology Work?

The haptic technology works in response to physical action on a software. The physical experience can be generated by any technology that creates vibration, air guts, or even ultrasound beans which we can feel but can’t see.

iPhone has its built-in haptic technology called the Taptic Engine. When a user performs an action in the software tied to a haptic experience such as pressing the home button, the software triggers a certain vibration pattern and makes the phone seem to respond to the touch physically. Even when you are converting your smartphones into Wi-Fi hotspot, while tapping on the screen, the vibrations you feel use haptic technology.

Haptic Touch Vs the 3D Touch

Now that you have the answer to the question, what does haptic mean, you must be wondering if it’s similar to 3D touch. Not really. 3D touch supports various levels of pressure. It includes soft press and hard press.

The 3D touch device also allows you to peek into a web link and see its preview. You then have to press harder to pop into this preview and open it in a browser. The secondary pop gesture is not supported by haptic touch. The haptic touch feels different. It’s a press and holds sensation and it works a bit slower than the 3D touch gestures.

What are Haptics Technology Examples?

To understand what haptics are a little deeper, consider these examples:

Notifications and Clicks on Apple Watch

What are haptic alerts? We know that the vibrations used for notifications cause haptics, it is these alerts on your watch. The Apple Watch also creates little clicks when you scroll down.

Controls on Arcade Games

It’s the oldest type of haptic people have been experiencing in arcade games. The haptic technology is built into the steering wheel if it’s a driving game or the flight stick if it’s a flying game.

Car Dashboards

Some car dashboard interfaces use haptics for simulating the exercise of pressing a button or turning on switches.

Touchpads of Laptops

Does then your laptop’s touchpad clicks when you press it? In case it does, it uses haptics. The haptic system here replicates the experience of click. However, the actual click is not haptic.

Video Game Controllers

Video game controller such as that of PS5 uses haptic technology in the form of vibrations, which are triggers by the events in the game.

Conclusion

This era is just the beginning of the enhancements to the haptic technology. Just like we are slowly shifting from wireless internet providers to the 5G technology, the haptic technology and our interaction with gadgets will become more satisfying.

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