Senseg company has started touting a new generation of touchscreens that allows users to run their fingers across the screen and feel different textures.
Dubbed the “feel screen”, the display creates an electrostatic field the finger can sense rather than using any mechanical vibration type effects. As the company puts it “Senseg’s patented solution creates a sophisticated sensation of touch using Coloumb’s force, the principle of attraction between electrical charges. By passing an ultra-low electrical current into the insulated electrode, Senseg’s Tixel, the proprietary charge driver can create a small attractive force to finger skin. By modulating this attractive force a variety of sensations can be generated, from textured surfaces and edges to vibrations and more.”
The texture feeling can be used for all sorts of purposes – for instance when playing a game you could feel the terrain. Or if you use a keyboard, the key would have edges which would contribute to a more lifelike typing experience. Another use would be displaying Braille on a tablet for the blind.
It is not yet clear what power requirements this effect would have on battery-powered devices that will support it – like smartphones, tablets, notebooks etc. but Senseg does not expect any increased power usage by the devices.
First “feel” touchscreens are expected in 2012 and more realistically in 2013 when devices that support the technology would start appearing on the market. The technology is scalable, so it will be equally suitable for smartphones and full-size 10 inch tablets where it is most likely to appear first.