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Touchscreens That Push Back: NEC’s “Directional Force Feedback” Displays

by Adriana Lee | April 2, 2012April 2, 2012 7:00 pm PDT

Forget capacitive or haptic — does the ultimate screen experience lie in displays that move when you touch them? That’s what NEC is exploring in a new sort of panel technology.

The prototype, built in cooperation with the Tokyo Institute of Technology, is actually rigged with motors and pulleys to make the screen shake. This isn’t some teensy little quiver, like with haptic feedback, but something called “directional force feedback” that gives some real movement against those fingers. This clearly wouldn’t work on mobile gadgets, but maybe in stationary applications, like in cars, appliances, kiosks or home entertainment systems.

It’s interesting to see what manufacturers are playing around with. Even more interesting is that they get how touching a flat piece of glass over and over again can be kind of dull and boring. Fact is, I happen to agree, especially since it would open up huge new worlds of utility for the sight-impaired. Where we might go from here, though, is kind of tough to imagine. One of the other ideas that manufacturers are looking at is electrostatic technology, which actually gives fingers some friction on command.

What would you love to see in next-generation displays? Do you want broader tactile feedback from your devices, or are you happy with capacitive screens as they are?

[via Engadget]

Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...