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The Future Of Touchscreens: Physical Buttons That Appear And Disappear
By Anthea Quay, 07 Jun 2012
Tactus Technology has unveiled a next-generation tactile touchscreen technology, that allows physical transparent buttons to rise up from the screen, and disappear into the screen, as and when the buttons are required.
According to the company, the buttons can take any shape and appear anywhere on touchscreens—and recede into the screen seamlessly when not needed.
“When triggered, the thin layer deforms and buttons or shapes of a specific height, size and firmness appear on the surface of the screen,” Tactus wrote in a press release. “Users can feel, press down and interact with these physical buttons just like they would use keys on a keyboard. The buttons recede into the surface and become invisible when they are no longer needed.”
Craig Ciesla, CEO of Tactus Technology said, “Looking at the iPhone and the elegance of the user interface, I also realized that I liked my blackberry with the buttons.”
“What a tactile touchscreen is that it’s giving you the ability to have physical buttons that come out of the screen, without giving up on anything in a normal touchscreen,” he said.
“It’s about creating a dynamic physical surface that can create different shapes and objects anywhere on a touchscreen or any other device.”
The Tactile Layer technology can be easily integrated into today’s touchscreen-based devices, by replacing the front layer of the device’s display glass (that has the same thickness as the Tactile Layer).
The 1-mm-thick Tactile Layer contains tiny channels that contain a non-toxic fluid. A small internal controller controls the pressure of the different portions liquid, causing the buttons to rise up.
According to Tactus Technology, the technology requires no change to the underlying display or touch sensor; has minimal power consumption; comes in screens of various sizes; and button layouts, shapes, locations and sizes can be customized.
The first Tactus may become available in mid 2013.
Watch the video below to see it at work:
[via Tactus Technology]
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