Researchers: Kasun Karunanayaka, Adrian David Cheok and Nur Ellyza Binti Abd
This project focuses on developing a magnetic table with an electromagnetic array underneath of the table, and that can levitate / move the magnetic objects placed on top of the table. The proposed platform is shown in Figure 1. This platform utilizes the fundamental physics of magnetic forces-at-a-distance for object levitation. The electromagnets that will be used for the system are dc electromagnets. Current that flow through the electromagnet will produce magnetic field along its axis. Magnetics field are usually used to describe forces at a distance from electric currents. This action at a distance is describe by saying magnetic field exists created by one of the bodies at the location of the other body. The force produced will repel, attract, vibrate or levitate the object.
Our first application would be to use this platform to change the weight of eating utensils in a dining table. The electromagnetic array underneath the table can attract, repel and change the weight of these utensils. Therefore, we will used this interface to facilitate the food consumption behaviour related research that being carried out in the Imagineering Institute.
Figure1: Proposed Magnetic Table Interface
Another dimension of this project would be to create different types of haptic sensations using like polarity haptics. Those haptic sensations can be felt like attraction, repulsion and various patterns of vibrations. Those sensations can be easily controlled by changing the polarity and frequency of the electromagnets. This technology will be able to provide interactions such as haptics in mid-air, guide the user to a particular location through a virtual path, provide surface features of 2D and 3D virtual objects, and restrict user to a certain virtual boundary. This magnetic Table could also be used as new type of physical interaction display.