Ultrahaptics has launched software to help developers use its ultrasound-based haptic technology in applications.

The Ultrahaptics Core Asset (UCA) is a plug-in for the popular Unity game engine that is also used to help develop industrial applications. The ultrasound technology creates points of pressure in mid-air that can be sculpted to create the sensation of feeling 3D shapes, buttons, switches and magical experiences, without the need to touch anything or needing accessories such as wearables or handheld controllers.

“In the world of Digital Signage and Out-Of-Home Advertising, brands have demonstrated an ever-increasing appetite for more engaging, more interactive experiences which touch and provider deeper connections with their audience.  Unity is the perfect tool to deliver that so it makes perfect sense for us (Ultrahaptics) to create a Unity plugin,” said Richard Hayden, Digital Product Lead at Ultrahaptics. “The Ultrahaptics Core Asset allows content creators to easily drop mid-air haptics into their Unity projects and as early indicators of our user studies show, dramatically increase user engagement and satisfaction.  Unity is more than a game engine – you can also use it to deliver epic interactive experiences that are simply more immersive than static advertising.”

Digital signage: Ultrahaptics in action

UCA has been tested in a Closed Beta over the last few months and this is opening up to a wider group of developers this month. The plugin enables designers to add haptics to interactive experiences using a range of pre-built sensations that can easily be dropped into Unity projects. The haptic visualisation tool will show developers where haptics have been applied to objects in Unity and where sensations will be experienced. A scripting API will also be available to developers wanting to create bespoke sensations.

“We’re really excited about this tool,” said Hayden. “Now Unity developers can incorporate mid-air haptics in a way that drops seamlessly into their established workflow. You no longer need to be an expert to bring Ultrahaptics technology into your experiences.”

The company has demonstrated its technology in both virtual and augmented reality as well as in digital signage, automotive and location-based entertainment applications, amongst others. The company has created a range of development kits that combine all the hardware and software necessary to prototype and deliver haptic experiences, as well as programs for organisations such as creative agencies to collaborate on next-generation digital content, and the Unity plug-in helps bring the technology to a wider group of developers.

The digital signage application can be seen the video above and at www.ultrahaptics.com. Ultrahaptics also won an award for best tech innovation at the Europas Award in London, as well as being named the Best Place to Work at the SPARKies 2018.