Microsoft patents 'tactile touchscreens' that react to UV light

Microsoft patents 'tactile touchscreens' that react to UV light
Tactile touchscreens, if you haven't heard of them, are touchscreens on which you can perceive texture, rather than just the flat keyboard. In the short term, that will mean faster and more intuitive keyboard typing, but it could have unlimited potential in the future.

Nokia, Carnegie Mellon, and Senseg are working on tactile touchscreen solutions, but they all revolve around perception. They use what's called 'vibrotactile feedback' to trick the user's fingertips into perceiving texture. This requires a wide range of voltage frequencies, some of which are annoyingly audible.

Microsoft has taken a different approach, opting to develop real textured cells on the touchscreen's surface. It would involve plastic cells, about the size of a pixel, that would raise from the screen to convey any range of shapes. One potential use is braille, which wouldn't be conveyable on the vibrotactile displays.

Microsoft has opted for a creative method to control these plastic cells. When the user's finger approaches the screen, the infrared reflection tells the screen where to create texture. A projector, sitting underneath the sheet of plastic cells, then transmits a signal for the desired texture via UV wavelength.

The technology is admittedly a ways off, and Microsoft isn't even sure its feasible. But we're cautiously optimistic that we'll see this on our smartphones one day.

source: NewScientist via Gizmodo

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10 Comments

1. Phullofphil

Posts: 1740; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

cool that is awesome

2. Rawrzellers

Posts: 224; Member since: Aug 22, 2010

This is why Microsoft is better then apple in every way. Microsoft innovates new things while apple recycles old technology from other countries.

3. cowsrockalot

Posts: 34; Member since: Nov 02, 2009

You are SSOOOOOOOOO right! Too bad everybody thinks it's the other way around. The problem is that Microsoft never gets half of the technology out!

4. smpdx

Posts: 127; Member since: Nov 02, 2010

Wow, I thought I was the only one on here who understood how lame apple is. They don't ever do anything original, they just advertise the heck out of it and make it look sexy. Most Americans are just ignorant enough to believe their marketing. They are just "re-inventing the wheel", but they act as if THEY were the first ones to market the idea.

5. hawk62

Posts: 320; Member since: Nov 21, 2009

The only apple products i own are an iph 4 and ipod touches. Your statments are a little weak. MS made phones. They suck! (kin) apple made a iphone sold millions! MS makes some good stuff and is still around because companies depend on their products. But i bet many americans also remember the blue screen of death on ms running computers. That could be a reason apple is doing so well, people got tired of having to update their windows/ie every fucking day and dealing with 100s of computer lockups/crashes. Stop bashing apple for making a product people want and can use easy.

6. icesick06

Posts: 30; Member since: Nov 03, 2009

Ill admit the kin sucked. But it sucked primarily for one reason.. it was marketed as a smartphone. Who in their right minds would spend an extra $30 a month to do less than 1% of the things you can do on any other smartphone? Certainly not me. And there is a big difference between microsoft and apple. When you buy a computer with microsoft's software on it, you have to deal with the myriad amounts of different drivers and hardware that are available for a "Windows" pc. When you buy an apple product, both the hardware and software are proprietary to apple. hmmmmm... Whats easier to code for and bug fix, a computer that has the same hardware in it every single time, or a computer that has tons of combinations to the hardware thats in it. I'll have to go with the apple product. Hence not as many problems to deal with. Apple is doing so well because they market an easy to use system, and most people anymore are too dumb to do anything for themselves, so thats what they go after. The flashy icons, the catchy commercials, the sexy looking devices, etc. Whens the last time youve seen Microsoft display as much advertising as apple does for its products. Yes they are out there but the commercial doesnt revolve around, "hey look at me, I look pretty". No microsoft doesnt need that. I, for one, use a windows machine because I know how to use a computer and dont crap myself the moment something goes wrong, when 99% of the time its a user error. So to put it in "simple" terms you apple people will understand, apple= simple os for simple people. windows= advanced os for advanced people. @hawk62 dont worry, this isnt directed at you, its in generalities. I hit reply and didnt feel like going down to the stand alone comment box.

7. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Microsoft is not as sucky as many people think they have a lot of stuff the system has to deal with just to be capable of handle anything you put into it but i wonder how many of there "supreme mac" users have a copy of windows ruining on their macs just because PEOPLE Make LITTLE STUFF FOR MAC and i wonder witch one is easyer to use, windows system has a lot of easy going stuff even on advanced features.... I'm not defending windows here, but mac if far from a superior os I even consider them to be at the same level because Mac OS can only run on mac pc and windows can run on almost anything with hardware. but i guess its what mac users look for, a closed system they cant upgrade change or better...

8. m2n unregistered

well ur polish and u suck

9. icesick06

Posts: 30; Member since: Nov 03, 2009

Well I had a long post on here but I guess these forums dont like me speaking my mind. Ill take the Windows OS over Mac OS anyday. Mac OS is for anybody that is too afraid to use a computer and think they are going to mess it up. Apple knows this, and markets its products to those people. Now Im not saying Windows is without flaws because it does have them, but if you know what you are doing, you usually never have a problem.

10. smpdx

Posts: 127; Member since: Nov 02, 2010

Phonearena deletes way too many comments. I mean, I have definitely made comments worthy of being deleted before, but it seems like every time I get on here I see peoples comments missing.

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