If you've been avoiding all touch-screen devices because you love the feel of physical buttons, a new kind of tactile screen may have you singing a different tune.
Researchers at the Swiss Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) have come up with next-generation haptic technology that creates the feeling of pressing actual buttons on a touch screen.
"We're adding the sense of touch to tactile surfaces," said Christophe Winter, a Ph.D. student at EPFL's Integrated Actuators Laboratory (LAI) who is writing his thesis on the subject. "The term 'touch screen' that's used to describe current technology is really a misnomer, because they only provide visual and auditory feedback."
To achieve this, the scientists at the LAI used a piezoelectric material that vibrates when voltage is applied to it. The vibrations are undetected by human touch, but they create a thin layer of air between the touch screen and a user's finger to give the feeling of a raised surface. … Read more