A Japanese startup is betting that its "touchable" 3D technology will have a vast array of applications, potentially allowing smartphone shoppers to evaluate the fabric of clothes they want to buy online and gamers to feel virtual objects.

Founded in 2014 as a technology transfer venture company for the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, the Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture-based Miraisens Inc. says its haptic technology would make it possible to get a realistic sensation of touch through subtle changes of vibration patterns traveling through the fingertips.

Miraisens founder and Chief Technology Officer Norio Nakamura, the developer of the technology, says the important thing is "how we trick our brain, which means what stimulus patterns should be given."