Sensory feedback technology could make a touchscreen feel like anything.
Disney Research (yes that’s a real thing!) have shown off their new technology which can make any surface capable of conducting electricity feel like various other textures. The ‘Revel’ system - or Reverse Electrovibration - sends a weak current through the users skin, creating an “oscillating electrostatic field” around it.
When the electrically-charged user comes into contact with any object connected to the same ground as the Revel signal, the electrical potential difference between the finger and the electrode generates an electrostatic attraction force that creates a sensation of friction between finger and object. By varying the signal properties such as frequency or amplitude, the system can manipulate different tactile experiences.
While the system relies on electrical conductivity to work, almost any other surface could in theory be converted to do so, using a layer of conductive paint with a thin layer of insulating varnish on top.
(Source: dvice.com, via 8bitfuture)