Microsoft has recently filed for a patent on tactile feedback touchscreens that convince users they are touching textures of a displayed image.
The patent, published last week, describes a new way of implementing touch feedback. Microsoft proposes using a layer of shape-memory plastic above a large touchscreen. The technology will distort the surface of the screen when different wavelengths of UV light strike the pixels from beneath.
Microsoft’s patent is aimed at larger touchscreen devices such as the company’s Surface table computer. Nokia has used tactile feedback touchscreens in some of its latest cell phones. New Scientists notes that these have been troublesome due to a large buzzing noise from the feedback.
Patrick Baudisch, a display interaction expert at the University of Potsdam in Germany, spoke to New Scientist and welcomed the new technology. “Creating well-defined bumps on a touch surface is in many ways the holy grail of text entry on touch devices because it would enable touch typing at much faster speeds than on touchscreens today,” Baudisch said.