Microsoft pioneers tactile display technology

Microsoft has patented a display technology that shifts under the user's touch

Possibly leapfrogging today's touch-screen technologies, Microsoft has figured out a way to make the computer displays themselves change in shape under a person's touch.

Microsoft filed an application last week with the U.S. patent office for a tactile display technology it calls a "Light-Induced Shape-Memory Polymer Display Screen."

Such a display could generate small ridges and textures on its surface that could work as navigation guides. For instance, the display could provide a virtual keyboard that could give users the feel of an actual keyboard, the patent application states.

To make this happen, the display itself would contain a "topography-changing layer" comprised of something called shape-memory polymers, which change shape depending on the ultraviolet light signal received. The system would require a topography-changing engine to supply the light signals.

Erez Kikin-Gil, a Microsoft senior user experience designer, is listed as inventor of the technology.

Presumably, the technology could be used as part of the Microsoft Surface systems, which are table-sized computers with large touchscreens that the company markets for interactive display duties.

Industry observers have noted that the technology, at least in theory, would also be feasible on smaller devices.

"There would be no more reason for mobile keypads -- they would simply be emulated when necessary," said Patrick Baudisch, a University of Potsdam in Germany display interaction expert, in an interview with New Scientist magazine.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the technology.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Microsoftlegalpopular scienceintellectual propertypatentdisplaysComponents

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?