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Disney invents technology to `feel` texture of objects on touchscreen

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 13:06

London: Researchers at Disney`s Lab have reportedly invented a new technology, using which, people can `feel` the texture of objects displayed on a touchscreen through tiny vibrations.

The technique involves sending tiny vibrations through the display to replicate the `feel` of shallow bumps, ridges and edges of an object.

According to the BBC, the vibrations re-create the effect felt in reality and make people believe as if really touching a textured surface.

Researcher Dr Ali Israr, who created the technology along with colleagues at Disney`s Lab, said that the vibration-generating algorithm should be easy to add to existing touchscreen systems.

Ivan Poupyrev, head of the interaction research group in Pittsburgh said that human brain perceives the 3D bump on a surface mostly from information that it receives via skin stretching.

Poupyrev explained that in order to fool the brain, vibrations sent through the screen artificially stretch the skin on a fingertip making the brain believe it is actually a bump on a flat surface.

Isar said that the vibration system should be more flexible than existing systems used to give tactile feedback on touchscreens, and with their algorithm, they have a set of controls that make it possible to tune tactile effects to a specific visual artefact on the fly.

The report added that the more pronounced a feature, like pineapple, apples, jellyfish, a fossilised trilobite as well as the hills and valleys on a map, the greater the vibration is needed to mimic its feel.

First Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 13:06
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