Apple patents a touchscreen that emulates different materials thanks to vibrations, temperature

Due to various reasons, Apple is one of the tech players that has a great many patents and patent applications up its sleeve. The latest addition to their invention portfolio is a touchscreen display that can simulate the feel of various materials. 

The patent has been granted by the USPTO today, April 23, and explains that the display makes use of an actuator to vibrate the surface of the screen and change its temperature in order to fool users that they are not touching a plastic display, but a material of other origin.

The actuator that causes the display to vibrate may move in different directions and with different speed so as to emulate smooth or rough surfaces, like plastic, metal, and glass. In addition, the change of the display's surface temperature also adds up to the "illusion", as it tries to simulate the thermal conductivity of the same material.

As usual with patents, it's not known whether this tech will make it to a consumer device, i.e. a future iPhone or an iPad. The honchos at Cupertino might have something in mind and surprise us in September, but we shouldn't rule out the more plausible possibility that Apple is just patenting this technology so that it has the upper hand if someone else comes up with a similar idea.

source: USPTO via AppleInsider

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