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Haptics in Digital Signage | Connect differently

Rob Blenkinsopp, VP Product, argues that brands capitalising on new haptic technologies are about to experience something extraordinary.

I am used to ignoring adverts but this is different.

It is having an effect on me, one that an advert wouldn’t have.

It is mesmerizing – I would hog it.

It’s emotional, it’s exciting.

Who wouldn’t want a quote like one of those about their brand?  

We didn’t make those quotes up. They’re all real. They’re from user testing done here at Ultrahaptics on our haptic posters. 

These interactive digital posters use ultrasound to create the sensation of touch in mid-air – shapes and textures that cannot be seen, but can be felt. In the Star Wars poster that we showed at New Scientist Live 2017, users experience what feels like the Force by passing their hand over an array of ultrasonic speakers.  

 Watch Ultrahaptics in action at New Scientist Live

Watch how visitors to New Scientist Live keep coming back and trying our poster again and again. 

The opportunity for digital signage

We live in a world saturated with words and images, and year by year securing consumer engagement, dwell time and recall becomes more and more difficult.    

But what if digital signage could sidestep all of that and connect with consumers on a totally different level? A level that surprised and delighted them; that created emotional connection and engagement; that made them want to engage again and again.  

Across all channels, consumer marketing is almost exclusively AV (audio-visual). Yet sight and hearing are only two of our senses. 

We think that digital signage has an opportunity to change the rules and connect with consumers through a different sense altogether – touch. And we’re not the only ones. At CES 2018, Adweek described Ultrahaptics as a tech company “brands should know about.”

Haptic AR hand touching human hand

Touch is a universal symbol of connection – and for good reason. 

Haptic technology and digital signage  

We know that our sense of touch is essential to emotional connection and social communication, is fundamental to how we explore and interact with the world around us, and is one of the foundations of our sense of reality and presence 

Until recently, the ability to connect with consumers using this powerful and primal sense was limited by the technologies available. 

Now, however, sophisticated “virtual touch” technologies, such as Ultrahaptics’ solution, are coming to market. In five years’ time, instead of talking about AV in digital signage, we’re all going to be talking about AVH (the H standing for haptics).  

And as with every technology, early adopters will reap the biggest benefits. Our testers experienced haptic posters as something extraordinary, magical and new. We think the brands who capitalise on this opportunity will experience something extraordinary too.

Rob Blenkinsopp is Ultrahaptics employee #1. As VP Product, he explores and develops new forms of interaction enabled by mid-air haptic technology. 

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