Wearable Tech World Feature Article
April 20, 2015

Immersion Streamlines Haptics with Instinctive Alerts

Haptic feedback is one of the hottest topics in wearables, and Immersion Corporation is trying to make it more relevant by eliminating unnecessary and distracting notifications, according to eWeek.

The company introduced its Instinctive Alerts Framework earlier this year.

"When someone gently touches your arm or grasps your wrist, that feeling conveys a specific meaning. As the leaders of touch feedback technology, we at Immersion continue to learn more about how to bring the value of touch to the digital world," Chris Ullrich, vice president of user experience at Immersion, said in February. "Most wearables miss the mark by using haptics to repeatedly disrupt activities or require users to memorize notification meaning, like learning a new language. We, as humans, instinctively understand that touch can communicate importance and intrinsic meaning. Immersion has used this intuition in creating the Instinctive Alerts Framework."

The Instinctive Alerts Framework aims to let developers include haptic feedback into their devices. For example, a smart watch could vibrate in response to certain events.

Immersion has defined a range of events graded by priority.

“Changed This” alerts, such as changing modes or turning tracking on or off, warrant light tactile effects. More urgent notifications under the “Now This” category, such as an incoming phone call, elicit stronger and more frequent vibrations.

Other notifications are somewhere in the middle. A “Review This” notification would come in for things like new SMS messages, as well as voice mail and email messages. “Know This” notifications are for things like meeting reminders.

“Do This” alerts are a unique category. The company gives an example of a fitness app telling runners to speed up or slow down or make turns.

Immersion claims that users can learn to distinguish up to 70 different kinds of alerts.  The company is already working with major vendors such as game developer Ubisoft to create new applications using the technology.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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