AIREAL is a new low-cost, highly scalable haptic technology that delivers expressive tactile sensations in mid-air. AIREAL enables users to feel virtual objects, experience dynamically varying textures and receive feedback on their body gestures, all without requiring the user to wear a physical device.

AIREAL is designed to use a vortex, a ring of air that can travel large distances while keeping its shape and speed. When the vortex hits a user’s skin, the low pressure system inside a vortex collapses and imparts a force the user can feel. The AIREAL technology is almost entirely 3D printed. Five actuators are mounted around the 3D printed enclosure which displaces air from the enclosed volume, through the 3D printed flexible nozzle and into the physical environment. The flexible nozzle is actuated and allows to deliver a vortex to any location in 3D space within a 75-degree targeting field.

AIREAL is part of my long term vision for creating computer augmented environments that can deliver compelling interactive experiences seamlessly, everywhere and at anytime. Free air tactile feedback technology is a key element of these future interactive spaces with a wide range of applications including gaming and story telling, mobile interfaces, and gesture control among many others.


AIREAL: Interactive Tactile Experiences in Free Air.
Sodhi, R., Poupyrev, I., Glisson, M., Israr, A. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2013. Article 134.

Team and Credits

The project was developed at Disney Research Pittsburgh by Rajinder Sodhi, myself, Matthew Glisson, and Ali Israr. Joanna Dauner and Alex Rothera joined the team for the design and production of the SIGGRAPH 2013 Emerging Technologies Aireal installation.