Boffins pump out pop-up touchscreen
The latest tactile touchscreen tech
Researchers have already tried to overcome the lack of physical feedback on touchscreens by adding on vibration and sounds. But boffins at one university have developed a touchscreen display that literally sports pop-up buttons.
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Chris Harrison and Scott Hudson at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pennsylvania have created a latex-based touchscreen that features etched buttons able to be inverted or raised.
Their physical form’s determined by tube through which air flows in or out, controlled by a pump.
A prototype model, designed for a hole-in-the-wall cash machine sports pop-up buttons for number and action keys.
Latex touchscreen buttons are pumped-up through an air pipe
The display also appears to be capable of simultaneously handling convex and concave buttons.
Projectors are used to cast graphics onto the buttons, and cameras positioned below the surface of the buttons sense infrared light scattered by fingers on the surface, according to a Morrison's paper on the design (PDF).
Pin pad perfection?
No plans to commercialise the CMU researchers' technology have been announced. ®
You forgot the 0 in your horrible prototype.
Everyone with a 0 in their PIN.
It uses set shapes?
It ain't no LCARS display is it?!
There goes my patent
I invented that in my head last year sometime, except it had a finer resolution and also a reader so you could push body parts against it and they'd raise at another location - all tech has a sex application screaming to get out somewhere!
Agree with Andrew Kemp, this isn't anything special - its a projector and fixed buttons that move... You could build that with clear lego bricks!
I'll not be trading in my REAL touchscreen any time soon!
re-definable tactile keys
OK you can dump the projector for a flat screen of some kind or even pre-printed backing. But how do you get rid of the need for a compressed air supply?
As a research tool for studying UI design and ergonomics OK. Cool toy OK. Actual usage IRl?
Tactile feedback could be attractive in some cases but I think the ideal would be some kind of electroactive gel that expands/contracts on small voltage levels (current pulses would have to diffuse through the gel. This is unlikely to be very fast). Done fast enough the whole face of your phone buzzes when your on vibrate, eliminating the buzzer and eliminating the buzzer parts. This sort of thing gets phone mfgs quite excited.