When you touch the screen on an iPad or a smartphone, they all feel the same — like glass. The next generation of screen is going tactile.
On this demonstration screen, asphalt feels rough. You feel nothing up and down on this corduroy image, but feel ridges sideways. The sandpaper image doesn’t quite feel like the sandpaper it is supposed to, but it is finer than the asphalt.
Touch feedback isn’t all that new in dashboards and appliances. But, so far, you need to plug these devices into a wall — or drain batteries like crazy — because they create the sensation with physical vibration. “They vibrate the entire device,” says Davis Rice from Senseg, “or the entire screen. Ours is done using electrostatic technology. So the entire screen is alive for very precisely located haptic effects.”