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Tactile Display With Directional Force Feedback
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Tactile Display With Directional Force Feedback

This new touch panel concept imparts a directional tactile feedback force to the user, by moving the panel surface. Developed by a research group with members from NEC and the Tokyo Institute of Technology, the system uses wires to pull the four corners of the panel. The tensile force to be applied to each wire can be adjusted, so the strength of the force, as well as the direction, can be controlled.

"This system produces a sensation like when you hit an object, enabling you to understand where the object is. With vibration alone, you know you've hit an object, but just touching an object doesn't enable you to understand where it is. You will know if you look at it, but the information you can sense by touch is insufficient."

"In this demo, when you touch the ball, if it's rolling toward you slowly, the force you feel is weak, and if it hits you quickly, you feel a strong force from it. So in that regard as well, this system differs from a tactile display using vibration."

This prototype has optical touch sensors in the bezel, and all the components that produce the force, including the wires and motors, are housed inside the display. So this system can be used like a regular touch panel, without needing to attach any extra devices to the fingers.

"Because you can feel the direction of the force, this system could be used for navigation, for example, to let people know which way they're going just by touching the display. Also, when you're entering text by flicking, with no sensation, it's hard to know which side you're on, but with this system, you know which way you've flicked. So we think this system could be useful in applications like that."

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