Most of us have kicked the CRT television to the curb in favor of a nice flat LCD screen. Well, you might be kicking that one to the curb next, if Microsoft Research can make this haptic touchscreen a reality. It has technology embedded behind an LCD flat panel screen to simulate the shape and weight of objects on the display. The device could be used for medical imaging as well as gaming.
NEWS: Tech Gets ‘Touchy-Feely' With Haptic Engineering
Senior researcher Michael Pahud and his colleagues designed the LCD panel by embedding force sensors and a robotic arm that help control how much resistance the screen gives when a user presses his finger against it. A computer program adjusts the size and perspective of graphics to give a 3-D effect, and a different amount of force feedback is assigned to different objects. For example, a stone is more difficult to push off a ledge than a sponge.
The program also adjusts the contours of the virtual object, so that if a person drags his finger over a ball, it will feel round.