Researchers at Carnegie mellon University’s Robotics Institute are currently developing a magnetic levitation system that they claim provides the most realistic sense of touch yet to be seen on similar devices. Possible applications include microsurgery, computer-augmented design, robot control, and even data visualization.
Haptics is the study of touching, and haptic technology refers to that which applies force feedback, texture and other physical sensations when the user manipulates virtual objects. Healthy virtual tissue would feel soft; a tumor, hard. Models created by supercomputers could be manipulated without creating expensive physical artifacts.