Touchscreens Get Texture Via E-Sense

By August 12, 2010

New technology from Senseg and Toshiba delivers texture and other forms of haptic feedback to any screen-type surface. Demonstrated at the Embedded Tech Systems Expo, their system is called E-Sense.  The tech is built upon a type

of human-machine interface called electrotactile arrays, which apply very mild electrical current to the nerves of the skin. Electrotactile arrays can create texture or pressure without mechanical vibration, a more well-known type of touch-based feedback, as is explained by Travis Deyle in the robotics new portal Hizook.

This tech has been around for some time, Deyle continues, but has recently been embedded into a film that can cover an LCD screen on a tablet computer or mobile device. At the expo, demonstrations included sections of the screen that was rough ("like a brush"), uneven ("as if it has metal strips on it"), or like wood or stone. Since it is now being incorporated into autonomous small devices, more applications are possible.

Tactile interface technology company Senseg calls its E-Sense output system a "modulated attraction force," or Coulomb force. Senseg claims that "virtually any surface can be made" to use E-Sense, from "handheld devices to wall-sized interactive displays... including transparent, flat or curved surfaces."

Applications for this type of touch feedback have included many devices for sensory-impaired individuals, including the blind and those with damaged inner-ears. Additionally, non-visual displays for fighter pilots have also been developed. As Deyle explains, this technique has been around for years.

Coverage by Übergizmo from May predicts future possible applications in regular workflow, as well as video games and pornography.

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