Disney has developed a technology that could change tactile screen surfaces forever. Imagine that you touch the glass with your fingers and feel something like burrs on timber.
The company’s engineers have come up with a method that allows the touch screen to deceive sensitive fingers and feel the real texture of the surface. The technology is based on the fact that fingers feel obstacles on the surface when touching it: friction compresses and stretches the skin, sending signals to the brain that it then operates successfully. Disney Research system can artificially simulate electrical signals that are stretching and compressing the skin, deceiving the brain and making it feel that an ideal flat surface is not smooth.
Obstacles on the virtual surface are calculated in real time and rendered to the user immediately.
The contact angle of a finger touch and the speed of its sliding are estimated.
The resulting spatial model is transformed into electrical signals that form the feeling of the surface in a human being.
The technology is still at its early stage of development, but the prospects are obviously wonderful.