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Kyocera boffins make on-screen buttons feel real

Piezoelectric magic offers hope to fat-fingered typers

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Japanese electronics-maker Kyocera has been showing off new touchscreen tech designed to make typing keys and other elements on a smartphone or tablet display feel like the real thing.

Boffins at the firm have developed a system which harnesses piezoelectricity to vibrate the screen back and forth incredibly quickly when it is touched, replicating the sensation of touching a physical object.

Far more sophisticated than traditional haptics, which provide rather imprecise vibrations when a button is pressed, the Kyocera tech can trick the user into feeling a variety of textures depending on the frequency and amplitude of the current, according to ‘Net lover’ (via RocketNews24).

The tech, demoed at last week’s Digital Contents Expo 2012 in Tokyo, can apparently replicate the sensation of a satisfyingly hard ‘click’ or of pressing softer, jelly-like buttons, for example.

Such innovation could help improve accuracy rates for typing and generally make the whole experience of operating a mobile device more user-friendly.

Kyocera is apparently predicting the panels will make it onto over two billion devices by 2017, including smartphones, gaming consoles, tablets, medical devices and even in cars.

Looks like we could finally be bidding goodbye to hilarious mis-typed texts. ®

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