HANK MORGAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY HANK MORGAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ken Salisbury (left) and Tom Massie, inventors of PHANToM (Personal HAptic iNTerface Mechanism) - a device that gives a sense of touching and feeling 3-D virtual-reality objects with the fingertip. PHANToM consists of a freely moving thimble on a motorized arm connected to a computer. The user inserts a finger and feels around. Forces applied by the machine create the illusion of solid surfaces - smooth spheres, sharp corners and even soft human tissue are all convincingly conveyed. The technology, developed by Salisbury and Massie at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, could one day make virtual-reality sex and remote-control surgery possible.
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