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IIT-M develops see & feel touchscreen

Nov 07, 2022

NEW DELHI: How about a touchscreen that gives the user a feel of the edges and texture of products displayed as the finger moves across the surface? Promising interaction that can take online shopping experience to the next level, scientists of Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) have developed a new generation of touchscreen technology that can do precisely that. 

The software called 'iTad' (for interactive touch active display) is the next generation in touch display technology which comes alive on smooth physical surfaces. 

According to the IIT, through the use of software, researchers can create different textures. There are no moving parts in iTad. Instead, an in-built multi-touch sensor detects the movement of the finger and surface friction is adjusted via software. By controlling electric fields via a physical phenomenon known as 'electroadhesion,' the software modulates friction locally as fingers travel across a smooth plane. 

The research was led by professor M Manivannan of the centre of excellence, on virtual reality and haptics, department of applied mechanics, IIT-M. Merkel Haptics, a start-up incubated at the IIT-M research park, has been working with Touchlab researchers to take the technology forward. 

Manivannan, said: "The technology can take online shopping experience to the next level. We can touch and feel things before we buy." 

As per PV Padmapriya, CEO, Merkel Haptics, said: "The prototype from the Touchlab can be made into product in a year's time." 

The key applications of 'iTad' include in the automotive sector, consumer electronics, and digital signage, home automation, medical, industrial and gaming and aid for visually challenged, among other areas 

Currently, computer touchscreens can only sense the position of your fingers on the screen, but offer no feedback. 

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