Haptics (pronounced HAP-tiks) is the science of applying touch (tactile) sensation and control to interaction with computer applications. (The word derives from the Greek haptein meaning "to fasten.") By using special input/output devices (joysticks, data gloves, or other devices), users can receive feedback from computer applications in the form of felt sensations in the hand or other parts of the body. In combination with a visual display, haptics technology can be used to train people for tasks requiring hand-eye coordination, such as surgery and space ship maneuvers. It can also be used for games in which you feel as well as see your interactions with images. For example, you might play tennis with another computer user somewhere else in the world. Both of you can see the moving ball and, using the haptic device, position and swing your tennis racket and feel the impact of the ball.
A number of universities are experimenting with haptics. The Immersion Corporation offers a joystick product that is used in laboratories and in arcade games. Haptics offers an additional dimension to a virtual reality or 3-D environment.