Unless you’re deep into video games and virtual reality, you may not be thinking about how haptic technology affects the way you interact with the world. However, it’s already present in most technology today, and that’s only going to continue to increase.

What is haptic technology?

Basically, haptic technology leverages your sense of touch. Today, this usually happens when your video game controller or smartphone buzzes to alert you of something. However, over the last decade and with the popularity of wearables like smartwatches, the ability to leverage haptic technology has started to gain momentum in other ways.

When you think about smart shoes to guide you around a city, fitness trackers that remind you to get up and walk around, and of course, smartwatches that alert you to text messages, sports scores, or weather updates, the possibilities are endless.

Feel the vibration

While haptics today are primarily used to enhance the experience of interacting with a screen, we should be using haptic technology to get you off screens entirely and allow you to know when you need to focus. Smartwatches are the first step since it just requires a glance, but what if you didn’t even need to glance?

I previously wrote about how we all become nervous nellies while traveling – imagine if you received some “all good” background alerts, and “something’s wrong” foreground  alerts.  Something as simple as two buzzes for a flight delay and a long buzz for flight cancelations would allow you to keep your eyes on the road while in the rental car on the way to the airport. Like the hourly chime of digital watches, you could get a single quick buzz to confirm that we’re monitoring things, and there’s nothing to report.

The language of vibrations

To do this, we’ll need standards for how different vibrations can be perceived, just like languages.  In fact, research has already shown that users can perceive different words and sentences with touch alone. Not only would that require standards for how to read those, but we’ll also need standards in manufacturing, which will allow us to quickly innovate.  This would be similar to what the Arduino did for the Maker community.

The reassurance capabilities mentioned above are endless, but that feels very short sighted. At TripCase, we’re really thinking about how we can leverage your sense of touch as well as vision and hearing to enrich and enable your real life while traveling.

How would these standards and the languages developed affect us in travel?