Touch Screen of the Future: The Ability to Feel Things On-Screen

Photo (cc) by madrakas

Disney wants to give touch screen new meaning — a screen that doesn’t feel like one.

Its engineers are working on a technology called “tactile rendering of 3-D features,” The Washington Post says. It would allow users to physically feel what is depicted on the screen, whether it’s a still image or a moving video.

The screen (an “electrovibration-based display”) stays flat, but the device it sits on maps the contours within the image and then tweaks the voltage it sends out, according to a Disney video explaining the research. This can create a sensation of “ridges, edges, protrusions, bumps, and any combination of these textures,” the video says.

“Scientists have known since 2001 that friction is the predominant force that lets you perceive textures,” the Post says, and changing the voltage changes the friction our fingers perceive. Here’s the video, which gets a bit technical but will give you a better idea of what’s going on:

Disney and the Post both talk about potential uses for this technology, including:

  • Feeling depth and elevation on maps.
  • Feeling surfaces and shapes of 3-D renderings.
  • Using live video to explore surfaces that are normally unsafe to touch (like a cactus or jellyfish).
  • Helping blind people learn and navigate their surroundings. (Could it also create digital Braille?)
  • Feeling products while you’re shopping online.

“It could be years before any genuinely 3-D tablets hit the marketplace,” the Post says. But what do you think of this technology? Can you think of other uses for it? Let us know on Facebook.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
11 Home Upgrades With the Best Payback in 2020
11 Home Upgrades With the Best Payback in 2020

The home remodeling projects that deliver the best bang for the buck tend to have one thing in common.

7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

11 ‘Disposable’ Items You Should Be Reusing
3 Reasons You Can’t Rely on Medicare Alone
3 Reasons You Can’t Rely on Medicare Alone

Counting on Medicare to cover health care costs can jeopardize your retirement plans.

7 Kitchen Gadgets That Make Healthy Cooking a Breeze
7 Kitchen Gadgets That Make Healthy Cooking a Breeze

These small appliances and cooking aids make healthy eating easy — and they’re all available on Amazon.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

These Major Appliances Got the Worst Reviews in 2020
These Major Appliances Got the Worst Reviews in 2020

Consumer Reports says these home products got the worst ratings from experts.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2021
3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2021

Still married to your cable company? Hold on to your wallet!

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.