What is TeslaTouch?
TeslaTouch is a new tactile interface technology that infuses finger-driven touch interfaces with physical, tactile feedback. It is based on the electrovibration principle, which can programmatically vary the friction between sliding fingers and a touch panel. As the result, TeslaTouch technology requires no moving parts and therefore it is inexpensive, lightweight, requires little power and can provide tactile sensation on touch panels of any size and shape This is unlike most of the existing tactile feedback technologies, which use mechanical devices to provide tactile sensation, such as vibration motors.
When combined with an interactive graphical display, TeslaTouch enables the design of interfaces that allow the user to feel virtual elements and their properties on a touch screen. For example, when dragging a file, the level of friction could convey the file size; feeling textures and materials could be explored with fingers; objects could be felt “snapping” into place or perhaps with a quick “rub” of email application’s icon, you could sense how many emails are unread. These are just a few ideas where this technolgy can be effectively used.
Bau, O., Poupyrev, I., Israr, A, Harrison, C. TeslaTouch: Electrovibration for Touch Surfaces. Proceedings of UIST 2010: ACM: pp. 283-292. [PDF]
Best Demo Award at World Haptics 2011 Conference. [PDF]
Team and Credits
and Jason May, CMU School of Design designed and produced TeslaTouch prototype enclosure.
Early exploration of TeslaTouch technology were conducted by me while at Sony Computer Science Laboratories in Tokyo.