Disney Just Figured Out Virtual Textures, Letting You ‘Feel’ Bumps and Ridges on a Touchscreen

Wow, this would be pretty sweet! Imagine this on an iPad! Haha, would make brail for blind peeps much better, iPad can become a learning device for peeps with sensory deficiencies (or other tablets too). And.. of course, the porn industry would probably have some fun with it.


Run your fingers lightly over the image of a spiny, striated fossil on one of Disney’s new “textured” touchscreens and your nerve endings will lie to your brain. That’s no mere flat picture, say the signals coming from your fingers, it’s a bumpy object pressing out of the screen like one of those faces pushed through a sheet in a horror flick.

Disney — yes, that Disney, of Walt and Mickey and Donald fame — says it’s thanks to a haptic feedback algorithm created in one of its Disney Research labs that allows you to feel textures across an otherwise smooth surface. The algorithm works by deploying subtle vibrations through a special electro-vibration-based display that tricks fingers (or really, the brain) into thinking there’s dimensionality to the object beneath the surface. As your fingers skate across the level image, those vibrations allow you to explore the image’s simulated bumps and ridges.

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