Haptic Devices


an image of a haptic deviceThe word “haptic,” means pertaining to “the sense of touch” (Merriam Webster Dictionary). A haptic interface is a device which allows a user to interact with a computer by receiving tactile feedback. This feedback is achieved by applying a degree of opposing force to the user along the x, y, and z axes. These devices may be used by individuals who identify as blind or as having a visual impairment and/or who learn best through touch or kinesthetic experiences.
There are two main types of haptic devices:

  • Glove or pen-type devices that allow the user to "touch" and manipulate 3-dimentional virtual objects
  • Devices that allow users to "feel" textures of 2-dimentional objects with a pen or mouse-type interface


The 3-demensional haptic devices can be use for applications such as surgical simulations and remote operation of robotics in hazardous environments.

The 2-demensional haptic devices can be used to aid computer users by providing a slight resistance at the edges of windows and buttons so that the user can "feel" the Graphical User Interface (GUI). This technology can also provide resistance to textures in computer images which enables computer users to "feel" pictures such as maps and drawings.


Manufacturers of Haptic Devices

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