Japan's top mobile carrier, NTT DoCoMo Inc, has demonstrated a technology that transmits the feel and hardness of an object in real time that it says will be a boon for online clothes shopping.

Calling this type of haptic feedback technology "tactile-kinesthetic sense media", Docomo said the system allows for the sensations of certain textures and shapes to be transmitted over the Internet to a special pad that then allows the user to experience the sensation virtually.

DoCoMo says it expects the new technology to be used for checking the feel of clothes via the Internet before purchasing them at an online store, especially if used in tandem with its new 3D technology which allows online shoppers to look all around an object on a flat screen in 3D.

By Michael Fitzpatrick.