We're not really sure that there's going to be any consumer haptics devices outside the context of a video game anytime soon, but that hasn't stopped the European Union from funding the HAPTEX (HAPtic sensing of virtual TEXtiles) project. Haptics, of course, is the study of touch sensory feedback, and scientists at the University of Geneva are currently working on a project that will incorporate touch into your online shopping. So let's say that you're looking online to buy pants, but you're not sure if you want corduroys or jeans -- in case you didn't know what those materials felt like, you'd touch a device that would allow you to feel the various textures. The project is due to end exactly one year from now, so that's when we'll find out if the €1.66 million ($2.11 million) that EU taxpayers shelled out was really worth it -- and what devices, if any, will come to fruition.

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