Feel your videogames with Aireal

2 min read


Kinect, when it actually works properly, allows you to manipulate virtual items in mid-air. Here’s some new tech that would allow you to feel them. Once it’s working properly.

Utilising a set of re-jiggered speakers that send out puffs of vibrating-at-low-frequency air instead of sound, the Aireal, made by Illinois PhD student Rajinder Sodhi and Disney Research’s Ivan Poupyrev will allow you to very nearly feel virtual objects and textures.

And while its output is unfortunately audible, that’s something that could be muffled in the future. It does, however, apparently feel quite nice.

"The sensation is quite pleasant," Poupyrev says. "It’s not like air blowing onto your body. The air ring is a traveling low-pressure bubble. When it collapses, the air from outside rushes in, and it creates force at this particular point. It’s [a] very localized, sharp puff of air."

(Unrelated: I tend to let out a very localised, rather sharp puff of air under the blankets every night before pulling the duvet over the wife’s head. I’m a classy fellow that way. )

The system, much like the current iteration of Kinect is also a little bit laggy – but that too, could go away in the future. Imagine this tech maturing, and using it in parallel with Kinect 2.0 and Oculus Rift; You’d be able to do and feel things in virtual reality.  It’ll get so real, that you may as well just go outside and do things for real instead.

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Last Updated: July 23, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)


    Because clearly gaming has to be saddled with all sorts of nonsensical and worthless crap, like Kinect and Aireal.

    • Unavengedavo

      Wonder what the ultimate combo would be like with Smellovision :/

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        Feet and niknaks, with a hint of fart in the air.

        • Unavengedavo

          I was thinking more the line of fish…

  • TiMsTeR1033

    Your a good fellow Geoff! you were warming the mrs! methane gas keeps ya warm and toasty!

    • Unavengedavo


  • Troll Slayer

    I can feel it coming in the air tonight….

    • Argentil

      Oh Lord

  • TiMsTeR1033

    LOOKS FREAKING KICKASS! and get cold air blow on you 🙂

  • Anon A Mouse

    The troll level is strong in this header…

  • Brady miaau

    Look, the dutch oven reference, Geoff, man, your poor wife

    What is worse, that or the revenge?

  • Unavengedavo

    The ultimate combo…

    Biometric sensors + Rift + Wicked Paradise + Fundawear + Kinect depth perception + Aireal = Fun times

  • HvR

    “3 aireal actuators simulating the moving air nearby flying seagulls”

    Last time a bunch of seagulls flew past me it wasn’t air of the wings I was feeling on my head and neck.

  • RinceWind

    WTF did I just see? SO, now when the NSA are watching you, and deem you to do something wrong, they can literally just fucking knock you out? WIN!

  • Admiral Chief Groot Wors


    • RinceWind

      2:1 now I think?

      • Admiral Chief Groot Wors


        • RinceWind

          What was Geoff’s first? Rewind DVD?

  • RinceWind

    Mind you, we need this sort of crap to finally realise the vision of a fully working Holo deck. When that happens, and men no longer need women, our population can finally stabilize… trololo!

  • ElimiNathan

    Haha dutch oven ftw

  • Just imagine how games will be when we are all retired. You’re 80, you have money (hopefully) and you have all time on your hands.

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