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Where are touch screens going ?

I, like many others, enjoy a smart phone with a big touch screen. Many people don't like the big touchscreen for one major reason: tactile response. It is for that reason that a lot of people opt for Bleckberry phones and symbian os phones that have a small physical keyboard. I never minded the keyboard much on my old treo (before I moved to an iphone), but I got used to the iphone screen pretty fast too.

I have to admit that there is a challenge when trying to operate a touchscreen based keyboard, especially with one hand. (I won't tell "where i am" or "what I am doing" at the time that this is the biggest issue, and I won't ask you either...).

The iphone and newest android phones try to compensate for this issue by doing "click" sounds or screen buzzing tactile response. It kind of works, but you still can't tell whether you hit the "j" versus the "k" on the virtual keyboard, especially when you have big sausage fingers.

Enter a new technology called "Tesla Touch" by Disney Research. According to the sources, this new technology uses electronic pulses and/or vibration to change the sensation under the user's finger. This can apparently be used to make the screen feel rough or rubbery, or even make certain "hot spots" feel heavier or lighter for "drag and drop" operations. Supposedly this could be used to make a virtual keyboard that users can "feel" and accurately type on.

Sounds exciting, but will I still know the difference when I type a "j" versus a "k" ?

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/innovation/10/08/tesla.touch.disney/index.html?hpt=T2

http://teslatouch.com/media.html

http://teslatouch.com/teslatouchUIST2010.pdf

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