New Tech Could Create Textured Touch Screens

We all know the problem with touch screens. You can’t text under the table while you’re in a meeting. Or while you’re driving. Or while you’re doing anything other than watching the screen carefully to ensure that the letter you tapped is the one that appeared on the screen.

Now a new technology could allow touchscreens to provide feedback that will help flat glass feel like any other kind of surface.

Chris Harrison, a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon University is hoping to change that.

Working with Disney Research, Harrison demonstrated the new technology, dubbed “Tesla Touch”, for the first time.

The idea is that when your finger moves across the screen, tiny electrical charges create a buzzing or vibrating sensation.

Tuned to different frequencies or alternated, the result would be resistance of varying degrees, including varying textural feeling.

The potential for the technology is immediately obvious. Drag a picture or file across the screen and different file types “feel” different. Stretching an image could result in an elastic kind of resistance.

It’s kind of sad that this huge technology breakthrough will first and foremost be used to help people text while driving.

Written by Toby Leftly

Toby is a Mac nerd, a hardware nerd and a web nerd, rolled into one. You can find him at or on Twitter.

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  • john

    ANY other surface you say?

    The porn industry will love this.

  • Early_Grayce

    One of the best patents for this type of tech is by Microsoft which uses an expanding liquid activated by infrared light.

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