Electrotactile feedback demoed on smartphone display

Touchscreens are becoming increasingly popular on devices ranging from smartphones to all-in-one desktops. Current touchscreens don’t offer much in the way of tactile feedback, but that could change thanks to E-Sense technology developed by Senseg and Toshiba. E-Sense runs current through surface-mounted electrodes to simulate texture, pressure, and pin pricks. This "electrotactile" array can be embedded in LCD screens, touchpads, and even curved surfaces, according to robotics news portal Hizook. A video of an E-Sense prototype in action is embedded below.

Electrotactile feedback has loads of potential for smartphones and slates. It should also be a nice addition to standard notebook touchpads, and I can see mice and game controllers wanting to get in on the action. Being able to apply the electrotactile film to a variety of flat and curved surfaces certainly leaves the door open for all sorts of interesting implementations, especially if the technology does a good job of simulating various textures. Toshiba plans to release an SDK for developers, as well.

It’s unclear how long it will take for E-Sense to transition from prototype to actual products. I suspect we’ll see it first deployed on smartphones and slates, but PC implementations might not be far behind. Thanks to Slashdot for the tip.

Comments closed
    • kakaczma
    • 9 years ago

    For sme history of electrostatic stimulation, please see
    §[<http://tcnl.med.wisc.edu/projects_estatic.php<]§

    • squngy
    • 9 years ago

    “Being able to apply the electrotactile film to a variety of flat and curved surfaces certainly leaves the door open for all sorts of interesting implementations, especially if the technology does a good job of simulating various textures.”

    So… How long until Toshiba makes the iDildo?

    • glacius555
    • 9 years ago

    So, that’s halfway to ‘Mass Effect’ keyboards, ones on Normandy??

    • zqw
    • 9 years ago

    My phone feels like needles! I can have lots of pain, or slight pain!

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    I love it. You can make electric shock apps for kicks. Or, Apple can zap you if you type anything that Dear Leader doesn’t approve of.

    The potential for this is unlimited. Pocket defibrillators, tazer phones, body fat testers…

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 9 years ago

    This reminds me of force feedback mice. Anyone remember those? Those were going to make the gaming mice companies “want to get in on the action.” Except they didn’t. They shrugged, meh’ed, and kept right on releasing higher and higher dpi mice instead. With moar buttonz!

    I doubt anything that costs battery life is going to make it into phones, either, since that’s one of the premier indicators of how awesome portable devices are, after all.

    I’d say touchpads might use it and I’m sure it’ll show up there more than anywhere else, but when its not important to mice or the touchscreens of your portable devices, I don’t think touchpads’ll matter much or get much support for the technology.

    Man, I’m getting old. I’ve seen this song and dance so many times, I’m already aware that this otherwise promising tech will not go anywhere. Heh.

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      “I doubt anything that costs battery life is going to make it into phones, either,”

      Smartphones themselves introduced a massive reduction in battery life, yet they have sold like crack on an Oakland streetcornerg{<.<}g

    • 5150
    • 9 years ago

    21st Century Hand-buzzer?

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