Microsoft’s plan for shape-shifting touchscreens

by Mark R

One of the problems with touchscreens is that they are way too…flat. That, and there is often very little tactile feedback. If I want to type, I want to feel physical keys underneath me. That way, if I hit a “g” instead of an “f” key, I can feel it. I don’t want to have to look at my text to find out that I screwed up.

According to my Source, Microsoft filed a patent last year that “details a light-induced shape-memory polymer display screen. In a nutshell, that means a touch screen that has a real texture and tactile feedback to it, making people feel as if they’re touching an actual object”.

This screen would be coated with certain polymers that can change and hold their shape, provided different wavelengths of ultraviolet light hit them from below.

You will note in the image this particular ripple effect at the touch of a finger, but I am looking forward to the day when the user can take the surface of a Microsoft Surface and shape it as if it were Play-Doh.

As it is, I’m not certain how physical shapes such as a keyboard could be made in this shape-shifting touchscreen. I’m going to leave that question to the experts that clearly have the know-how to make something like this, really.


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