<via BBC Technology>
Disney researchers have found a way to convey the texture of objects through touchscreens. Vibrations of the screen trick nerves in human fingers to “feel” the object they are viewing.
Through the system, users can feel the shallow bumps, ridges, and edges of an object. To fool the brain into “feeling” the object, the vibrations from the screen stretch the skin on a fingertip so a bump is felt even though the touchscreen is smooth. The vibration-generating algorithm should be easily added to touchscreen systems.
Why I’m Curious
This technology would be really helpful for e-commerce sites, where users currently might be apprehensive of purchasing an item without seeing it in person. For instance, if they’re buying clothing, they might want to feel the fabric. Obviously this technology is too nascent to distinguish finer textures of fabrics, but perhaps brands will put enough money behind this research to bring other types of objects to life.