A new haptic interface which allows buttons and shapes to physically rise from a touchscreen as needed has been developed, and will be showcased at this year's SID I-Zone.
In a press release today, Tactus Technology, a company based out of Fremont, CA, announced the first public demonstration of its Tactile Layer component, a “next-generation haptic user interface” that has buttons, guidelines, or shapes rise from the surface of the touchscreen before receding back into invisibility.
The Tactus Tactile Layer is the first deformable tactile surface. It creates dynamic physical buttons that users can see and feel before entering data into the device. What makes this possible is an “innovative microfluidic technology” that causes an apparent physical change in the screen before receding back into the screen when no longer needed. After receding, there is reportedly no after-image of the button; the screen is as smooth as it was to begin with.
The panel is a flat, transparent surface that adds little to no thickness to a standard display, as it becomes incorporated into the display stack. This allows manufacturers to create devices with all-new ergonomics and form factors, since they no longer need to worry about where the screen and keyboard are in relation to what the user is seeing. When the technology is triggered, the layer deforms around the required area, creating buttons or shapes of specific sizes, heights, and firmness on the surface of the screen. These buttons can be seen and interacted with just like real, physical buttons.