Thursday, May 26, 2011

Haptic Buttons on Touch Screens

Welcome back again to JJNN

Today's article is from RBB Today. It is also a story from Wireless Japan 2011.

With the use of smart phones with touch screens and other forms of touch input devices becoming more and more prevalent as time goes on, there is a decided decline in the amount of mechanical buttons on phones and other input devices out there. As a story from my personal life, I have been using an iPhone for about 2 or 3 years now so I am used to the touch screen. Last night I became a regional manager in my job so I got a special cell phone for use on business. Of course that new phone is not a smart phone and it does not have a touch interface. When I started using the phone it felt strangely responsive. I could tell what I was opening and using more easily with that new (extremely low powered) phone.

That is the very problem with phones and other devices with a touch input. It is hard to tell if you hit the button (icon) to start an application or (on the other hand) it is easy to hit buttons by accident. There is no tactile response to the user's input so it can be extremely unintuitive for first time users to touch screens that are used to traditional buttons.

This is where the good people at KDDI step in. They wanted to find something that would bridge the gap between the feel of mechanical buttons and the ease of a touch screen. KYOCERA Cooperation (a part of KDDI) produced a new form of haptic technology (technology that takes advantage of the sense of touch) that be Incorporated into touch screen devices to give the feeling of mechanical buttons to a touch screen. You can see a phone with a haptic touch screen below.

Cell phone with a haptic touch screen
The process is really actually very simple. When someone touches an icon or interacts with the touch screen in some way the phone vibrates for a very short duration. That quick vibration is interpreted by the brain as being the same as pushing down a mechanical button. There are even 3 different types (durations) of vibration that are used for different actions on the touch screen.

It is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 感覚(かんかく). It is pronounced kankaku and it means sense. I wonder when cell phones will start taking advantage of the sense of smell.

No comments:

Post a Comment