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Input Devices Displays GUI Hardware Technology

Giving Touch-Screen Buttons Depth and Height With Pneumatics 146

blee37 writes "Researchers at Carnegie Mellon demonstrate 'popping out' touch screen buttons to become physical buttons using pneumatics. The idea is to combine the dynamic reconfigurability of touch screen buttons with the tactile feedback of real buttons. The technology could be applied where tactile feedback is currently lacking, such as in car navigation systems, ATMs, or cell phones."
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Giving Touch-Screen Buttons Depth and Height With Pneumatics

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  • Better idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by amplt1337 ( 707922 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @12:25PM (#30215006) Journal

    Establish a grid of button surfaces, kind of like pixels, which can be dynamically re-grouped to merge them into larger buttons, and then put the display on that.

    So, imagine you had a keyboard with essentially no gaps between the keys, and a screen on top of them. You could make one button out of qwe, one button out of tgyh, etc., while displaying your graphics seamlessly.

    Or you could just do what ATMs have already been doing for ages, which is have blank buttons beside the screen and add the labels. But nooo, gotta be all fancy-like...

  • by courteaudotbiz ( 1191083 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @12:26PM (#30215042) Homepage
    And what would be the actual pricetag of such a device? I understand that we use more and more electronics to simplify the mechanics behind our devices. Now, with a pump, you need to physically inject air under the screen, so you have moving parts, and they are usually costly... besides, what would be the reliability of such a thing? and could you get a "flat" screen?
  • Re:Why Not... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by maxume ( 22995 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @12:28PM (#30215076)

    The assembly of something with 15 buttons using the linked idea would probably be quite a lot cheaper than the assembly of 15 separate buttons, and the electronics to drive it would probably be simpler.

  • Whack-a-mole! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @12:33PM (#30215166)

    Whack-a-mole! Now with a digital display and tactile feedback! imagine the possibilities!

  • Piezoelectric layer (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @12:45PM (#30215346)

    Wouldn't it be easier to just add a piezoelectric layer to the screen and add haptic feedback that way?

  • Re:ONE WORD: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by foobsr ( 693224 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:20PM (#30215802) Homepage Journal

    Quote []:"PhotoelasticTouch is a tabletop system designed to facilitate touch-based interaction with real objects made from transparent elastic material. The elastic material provides a realistic haptic interface, which when combined with the visual content displayed on the LCD tabletop, enables a coupling of the physical world and digital content. The system utilizes the photoelastic properties of transparent rubber to detect when a user pushes, pulls, or pinches the object, while the LCD provides appropriate visual feedback in accordance with the stress applied to the rubber."


  • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:26PM (#30215878)

    Okay, maybe not octopus skin -- but in it, we have an existence proof for a surface that can display high-bandwidth color changes and slower, but quite elaborate, texture changes. With all the progress being made with microfluidics and chip-scale effectors, why on Earth would anyone pursue a chugging, hissing, thermodynamically-disadvantaged pneumatic system for this?

FORTRAN is the language of Powerful Computers. -- Steven Feiner