Disney touchscreen technology lets you feel textures

The technology world just got a bit weirder (and more amazing) after Disney announced that they invented a touchscreen that allows tactile differences to be experienced. It’s sort of like old “Smellovision” with your fingers.

The company that brought you the first animated feature film and the multiplane camera may be at work on its most game-changing invention yet: Flat touchscreens that let you feel the shape and texture of pictured objects, almost like they were actually there.

The technology is called “tactile rendering of 3D features,” and an early version of a rendering algorithm has already been developed by engineers at Disney Research in Pittsburgh. The process behind it is, predictably, both technical and confusing, but the basic premise is that small, electronic pulses can trick your fingers into perceiving bumps and texture, even if the surface is actually flat.

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