Online shopping is pretty much a staple for us millenials. Buying gadgets online is great, but for those of you who have bought clothes online before, you know that just because it looks good, doesn’t mean it feels good. But what if we told you that you might actually be able to feel the fabric of your item of choice before making a purchase? Yes, that’s now possible with Tanvas Touch, a surface haptics technology that debuted in CES 2017.

What is haptic feedback? Most of us use it everyday without realising it. Smartphones actually incorporate it to help make typing on your touchscreen feel more real. Whenever you touch your smartphone screen, the key you pressed vibrates slightly, giving you the impression that you’ve hit a physical button. Employing that same concept and after extensive research at Northwestern University, TanvasTouch technology refines the same technology so that if you move your finger around your iPad screen, you can quite literally feel the difference between leather and silk.

Credits: The Verge

CNET’s Andrew Gebhert however, wasn’t too impressed by it. According to Gebhert, the surfaces that was supposed to be like wooden bridges, cobblestone, and grass felt different, but not quite real. The grassy surface felt kind of grainy in fact.

We might not want to expect too much from Tanvas, after all, it is the first of its kind and it is a first-gen prototype still. The technology is cool for sure, but trying to completely recreate and replicate other surfaces is a lofty ambition to say the least.

Tanvas is currently rolling out the technology, and it is claimed to be capable of being implemented into anything as long as it has a touchscreen. The company says it can even be put on top of flat surfaces like tables. Apart from us consumers, it’s interesting to know that this technology could actually benefit the visually impaired as well.