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Microsoft Research developing 3D touchscreen with tactile feedback


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A team at Microsoft Research is working on a new project that could bring haptic tactile feedback features to some future versions of large 3D touchscreen monitors.

The technology of adding tactile feedback to touchscreens is nothing new; many smartphone display give owners a way to "feel" when their finger is touching an app icon. But what about larger 3D monitors that could be used for PCs?

That's what a team at Microsoft Research is developing at the moment. In a post on the group's website, it offers details on what they call the Actuated 3-D Display with Haptic Feedback. In addition to the touchscreen itself, the project also includes a robotic arm that moves back and forwards depending on the force that is used to touch the display.

An example of how this haptic touchscreen works is shown in the video above. The user touches a cube that in the computer is supposed to be made of stone, and therefore heavy. It takes more effort to move the "stone" cube in the display with a finger than it does to move another virtual cube that is supposed to be made of a sponge material.

Yet another demo showcased how the display is used with a scan of a person's brain. The user can push the display back and forth to see different layers of the brain scan. If there is a tumor detected in the brain scan, the user can "feel" the anomaly by sensing it on the display via the haptic features. Microsoft Research says this kind of technology could be used in health care, along with 3D modeling, education and even in 3D gaming.

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