As tablet sales continue to prosper, making the mobile device a common electronic in many homes and businesses, the technology that goes into the slates is evolving as well, with companies like Senseg making the word “touchscreen” worthy of its name with its E-Sense haptic feedback.
Using Coulomb’s force, the attraction between electrical charges that causes things like a balloon to stick to your head after rubbing it against your hair, E-Sense tricks the finger into feeling the sensation of touch.
In the case of tablets, the effect is generated by high-voltage electric fields running in a grid, which is embedded during the manufacturing process, across its surface. Making this tangible requires turning the electric field on and off between 10Hz and 1KHz, creating frequencies that the hand is incredibly sensitive to. By modulating this force, a variety of sensations can be generated, from textured surfaces and edges to vibrations and more.
While no tablet currently features Senseg’s technology, the company has expressed hopes to be in a consumer product by the end of the year, although no word yet on whether it will be seen in a future version of Apple’s iPad, an Android-powered device or perhaps a Windows slate.
One thing’s for certain though, the E-Sense and Tixel technology would be a key distinction if incorporated into forthcoming devices. It could be used to make the user feel as if an on-screen keyboard included actual keys. If the keys or key edges on a tablet had a touchable presence, it would make a vast difference in terms of accuracy when typing.
With other haptic systems, such as Telsa Touch, rivaling Senseg, the company offers a cheaper alternative in providing an intermediate manufacturing step for electric field inclusion, rather than totally restricting the screen like its competitors. And by offering an API for Android, iOS, Linux and Windows via a chipset, developers can take advantage of Senseg’s technology.
Although we may not be seeing a Senseg haptic system in the highly rumored iPad Mini, which is said to debut next month, it provides hope technology companies are striving to offer even better products.