Full touchscreen feedback developed

Posted on Mar 31 2010 - 9:50am by simon

A new technology has been created by a firm called Artificial Muscle that, unsurprisingly, allows touch sensitive displays to replicate human anatomy by stiffening when subjected to a touch.

Artificial Muscle hopes that its silicon membrane display technology will be snapped up by a number of industries, including mobile phone makers and healthcare firms.

So far touchscreen technology has been fairly unresponsive when it comes to giving the user physical feedback after each input. Haptic feedback, which sends a little vibration through the device to alert the user to a touch, has been around for a while, but it is still far from a completely natural tactile interface.

Artificial Muscle’s technology is based on a silicone film controlled by electronic actuators which cause it to tense when a touch is registered. This gives the impression that the device is reacting physically to being pressed, which can sound a little disturbing.

According to reports, at least two mobile manufacturers have signed up to Artificial Muscle’s technology and the first touchscreen smartphone to utilise it will emerge at some point next year. Artificial Muscle is also ramping up production in a pre-emptive measure to meet growing demand.

The one issue with the Artificial Muscle technology is that, for the moment, the entire screen will stiffen when a touch is registered and not just the area upon which pressure is applied. This means that multitouch sensitivity might be compromised, but it is good to see that firms are working on intuitive touch solutions for the future.

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