Touchscreens have greatly improved the way users interact with devices, making them more intuitive and easier to use, but they come with a price. The absence of tactile feedback creates a host of problems, which negatively impacts user experience on a variety of levels.
Device manufacturers are trying to address this issue through a wide range of solutions that attempt to simulate a physical button experience. Vibration-based haptics for instance, uses vibratory feedback to mimic the feeling of resistance when a virtual button is pushed.
This approach cannot, however, recreate the true tactile response of an actual button press – a fact not lost on device makers such as Samsung®, Nokia®, RIM® and others that continue to develop physical keyboards for their products (even at the expense of user preference for more screen real estate and thinner devices).
Current haptic technologies also fall short in assisting users in properly locating their fingers on the screen or keyboard, because of the inherently flat nature of touchscreens.
Without proper orientation, mistakes will be high. Given how fast touchscreens are being integrated into handheld devices such as digital cameras, gaming systems and smart phones to larger systems such as cars, medical devices, ATM’s and home controls, it is vital to have a tactile solution that helps users interact with them much more naturally, comfortably and safely, as is the case in automotive applications....