Variable Tactile Surface Touchscreens

(YouTube Link)

Researchers are Carnegie Mellon University are developing touchscreens that are textured to provide a variety of different shapes for users to interact with. If I understand this video correctly, this is more than just a shaped screen. The buttons on a single screen can actually change shape to present different types of interfaces. This technology could be very useful for the visually-impaired or people who want to use a machine while looking at something else.

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they better come up with a latex-free version. many many people have very severe respiratory latex allergies... even when they are just in proximity to it, not even touching it. breathing in latex fumes can cause respiratory issues and even anaphalactic shock. oops.
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Well they are out of luck, Apple Inc. is already much further than that. A patent released a few weeks ago, already goes far beyond that.

By beyond I mean, that Apple has described a method of providing tactile feedback for touchscreen using low powered piezoelectric actuators that can be activated on command. By fluctuating the frequency of these actuators, the user will "feel" different surfaces as their finger moves across it. As an example, a device might display a virtual click wheel which vibrates at a different frequency at the center. Users will sense the difference and use the click wheel without looking at it.

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