New Touchscreens Create Virtual Tactile Sensations That Feel Rough [Video]

Using electrovibrator display technology, Disney replicates real-life textures onscreen.

Disney researchers created a touchscreen that lets users virtually feel objects displayed there, lending a lifelike tactile element to computer displays for the first time.

The electrovibration display functions based on an algorithm that maps frictional forces between finger and screen to the slope of any desired virtual surface. Researchers created a model to determine the perceived feeling created by different voltage levels, so that by modifying the voltage emitted from the screen, they can mimic real-life textures to enhance spatial information. A user could experience depth and elevation on a map, for example, or feel a rendering of an object before it’s produced.