Microsoft Develop 3D Touchscreen That Lets You Feel Objects

Touchscreens are possibly the most popular surface on Earth right now and Microsoft have plans to make 3D touchscreens that let you feel what you’re seeing.

Microsoft 3D touchscreen image

Touchscreens seem to be the flavour of the month, or, rather, the flavour of the past few years as now, our cell phones, our TVs, tables and even our fridges have touchscreens integrated into them. Touchscreens have proved so popular that they’ve even spawned an entirely new kind of gadget sector : the tablet computer. Needless to say, that everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon. Microsoft are doing this in a slightly different way, as they’re piggybacking the trend, but not with any ordinary touchscreen, as they’ve created a 3D touchscreen that lets us touch, see and feel the very objects that we’re looking at, just like real life.

Microsoft’s new project employs something called ‘haptic’ technology, which lets a user receive feedback from a device, effectively allowing them to feel like they’re touching whatever it is that’s being visualised on the screen. Microsoft’s 3D touchscreen, which is actually an LCD screen with a robotic arm, is aiming to start the haptic technology revolution.

How this works is that the screen, which has inbuilt force sensors, pushes back, or pulls away, from your fingertips as you are interacting with the device, to suggest what the object on screen feels like. This technology can apparently tell you what sort of shape, or even weight ,that the things on screen are. The robotic arm comes into play as it moves the screen towards or away from you depending on if you have retracted or pushed your fingers away or towards the screen, respectively. The 3D aspect of the gadget comes in the form of the screens computing, as it can chance the perspective of what you’re seeing on screen according to how you’re interacting with it. The difference has been demonstrated by Microsoft in that a sponge-y object onscreen would require less force for you to move it than an onscreen image of a stone, for example, so clearly this is some very advanced technology.

Microsoft feel that their 3D touchscreen can be used not only for gaming, but for medical discoveries too. They say that body scans of patients, or even brain scans, would be able to be explored much more easily by doctors, and that could even aid in the ease of robotic surgery too.

The technology of Microsoft’s 3D touchscreen is being worked on at their Redmond campus and it way be a way off before we see it in our homes and doctors’ offices, but we’ll keep you posted when we know more.

Source : BBC

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