Friday, June 15th, 2012

Electroactive Polymers Improve Gaming, and Now Music Too

Last September we blogged about electroactive polymer because, well, it was impossible to ignore anything that cool and that also has so much potential. In brief, when voltage is applied to EAP it expands, effectively becoming an electric motor — a very small, lightweight motor.

Artificial Muscle Inc., a subsidiary of Bayer MaterialScience, which markets EAP technology under the brand ViviTouch, was already seeing success in the video game market, with EAP giving game makers the ability to add haptic feedback (sense of touch) to their games. Play video pinball on an iTouch and ViviTouch EAP lets you feel the ball hitting the bumpers, and more.

AMI’s progress continues. A new application for ViviTouch was introduced

at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012 held earlier this month in Los Angeles. Show visitors were able to deepen how they experience their favorite music and the sounds of their favorite video games thanks to headphones with ViviTouch EAP built into the ear cups.

According to AMI, and verified by the gamers who tested it, the resulting auditory experience is very much like what is heard at a dance club, meaning visceral; it rocks the body. What ViviTouch does is transfer sensation to the skin of the ears that is conducted to the skull. But unlike what happens at a club, the EAP sensation does not move the eardrum, something that has been linked to hearing problems.

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