Haptics, which can loosely be defined as allowing you to feel output from a computer via your sense of touch, is a technology that seems to have all kinds of potential. On the other hand, besides various “rumble” features on video game controllers, it doesn’t seem like this technology has taken off as some would have hoped, perhaps in smartphones or similar applications.
On the other hand, this means that adding your own haptic feedback to a project can really set it apart from others that “only” use light and sound to convey a message. One way you can do this is with a linear resonant actuator (LRA), which works in a similar manner to a speaker in that a mass traverses back and forth in a tiny enclosure, causing vibration.
This type of vibrator is available on Tindie, in sizes as small as 8mm, opening up quite a few possibilities for haptic “displays.” In order to get them to work, they can be driven via these modules which host a DRV2605L which is specifically designed for haptics. Shown above, these modules are about 1 cm square, so would have roughly the same footprint as the small LRAs they are meant to drive.
So next time you’re designing a VR interface, or perhaps even an electronic music device, why not add haptic feedback? Being able to “feel” an object rather than just see and hear it seems like it would add a whole new dimension to projects!