The Next Touch in Display Technology is Sensational. Really?

What’s the point of touching if you can’t feel? Finnish researchers think there’s more to touch screen technology – and that leads us to tactile technology.

Users can slide their fingertip across a button on the display of a device like the iPod touch. They felt a slight “catch” as if their finger had hit an actual button. The touchpad display had regions marked “brush,” “rough,” and “bumpy” indicating different sensations.

A demo of new tactile technology was shown at the Embedded Systems Expo & Conference last month by a joint venture between Senseg Oy and Toshiba Info Systems Corp. The device simulates tactile sensations by varying the intensity and frequency of weak electric fields on mounted film between touch panel and display cover. The film is expected to be produced very inexpensively, selling for 25 cents to $1 USD. Notebooks, tablets and other devices may even incorporate the technology as soon as 2011 and cell phones are anticipated in mid-2011. Apparently there are no limitations to the size of the film — and the technique is break-resistant and noiseless. So expect digital signage displays and kiosks to follow this path of upgrade from touch to feel.

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