Earlier this week, we had the pleasure of talking to Oliver Schneider, a graduate student and researcher at the University of British Columbia. Working at the Sensory Perception & Interaction Research Group, Oliver spends most of his days developing new software and hardware interfaces that engage our sense of touch. He described various techniques he used to create development tools and interfaces for creating rich tactile effects, including Haptic Jazz – a system for taking improvisational input on a tablet and translating it in real-time into a vibrotactile sensation.
Haptic Jazz is an interesting approach to making the development process for haptics more interactive. However, Oliver has been taking the knowledge gained from several of his past projects and incorporating it into Macaron, a more advanced web-based editor for haptic effects that aims to be the “Adobe Photoshop” of haptics. Unlike Immersion’s unreleased haptic editor, Macaron is free, open source, and already available on GitHub to reuse and modify.
The power of Macaron goes beyond accelerating the design process of haptic feedback within mobile apps and video games. It also provides interactive examples that simplify the learning curve of understanding haptic waveforms. As an experiment in UI design, it excels in taking the most complicated aspects of designing haptic feedback and distilling them into easily-understood visual concepts. As we build out the developer tools and SDK for Moment, we plan to integrate with Macaron as an open standard for developing haptic effects. In the future, we hope that anyone will be able to customize and develop their own haptic feedback plugins for Moment, and Macaron appears to be an excellent first step.