In An Effort to Create a Pop-Up Keyboard on A Smartphone’s Otherwise Flat Display, Scientists have Developed New Tactile Technology

This week, researchers working on display technology at Carnegie Mellon’s Future Interfaces Group highlighted a breakthrough that could make future screens more tactile through raised haptics. The Future Interfaces Group recently released a video and a research paper exhibiting a display capable of growing little physical bumps that can be felt under the fingertips. TechCrunch reported on the release of both of these materials.

This technology could be utilized for various applications, including tactile notifications, a pop-up keyboard with a distinct sensation beneath the fingers than a typical screen, buttons that remain inflated until pressed, pop-up custom-shaped buttons for managing system tasks, and other applications. A pop-up music interface displaying raised music controls for playback is one of the concepts shown off during the demonstration. Another shows a button on a smartphone that flickers up and down until it is pressed, and it does this simultaneously with the first one.

In An Effort to Create a Pop-Up Keyboard on A Smartphone's Otherwise Flat Display, Scientists have Developed New Tactile Technology_

The researchers developed a method to increase the surface of a fluid using a flat panel by employing miniature versions of hydraulic pumps. Each pump may be controlled independently and operated in its own right to produce dynamic and tactile bumps in a space-saving design.

The hardware is self-contained, lightweight, and reasonably slim at 5mm. It can sustain the force applied during a standard touchscreen interface.

At the moment, this cutting-edge innovation is a property of Carnegie Mellon University. Despite this, it is easy to see future devices equipped with this functionality. Apple has implemented haptic vibrations for touch-based feedback that is utilized for notifications and other types of system input; however, elevated haptics would give another dimension to the display.

Apple might employ this technology to create a flat tablet with a pop-out keyboard. At the same time, it’s being used, and there are probably other accessibility use cases for people with vision problems. It is impossible to say whether or not Apple will include this functionality in future versions of its products, but the idea behind it is intriguing.

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