Feel it in your fingers, feel it in your toes: haptic flooring

Via Chairman Bruce, here’s an interior design concept for those of you who find carpets or exposed boards a little pedestrian (arf!) – augmented reality floor tiles. SRSLY.

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Canada have developed floor tiles that can simulate the look, sound and feel of snow, grass or pebbles underfoot. Such a tool could perhaps be used for augmented reality applications, tele-presence, training, rehabilitation or even as virtual foot controllers.

The modular “haptic” floor tiling system is made up of a deformable plate suspended on a platform. Between the plate and platform are sensors that detect forces from the user’s foot. And the plate can give off vibrations that mimic the feeling of stepping on different materials. A top-down projection and speakers add visual and audio feedback.

A long-distant precursor of an essential component for the the StarTrek holodeck, perhaps?