Microsoft experiments with "shape-shifting" touchscreen

  • Microsoft has filed a patent application for the design of a tactile "shape-shifting" touchscreen.

    According to NewScientist, the advanced display employs "technical tricks" to convince users that they are actually touching and feeling the ridges, bumps and textures of a rendered image.

    Indeed, the patent envisions the creation of "real" screen textures via the use of pixel-sized, shape-memory plastic cells that are capable of shifting and protruding into coherent patterns on demand.

    So, how would Microsoft's "shape-shifting" touchscreen work?

    Well, the display is likely to employ a layer of shape-memory plastic that would be strategically placed above a large touchscreen.

    Such a configuration would facilitate the screen's "distortion," which could be prompted by various wavelengths of ultraviolet light striking the pixels from beneath.

    As one would expect, the "shape-shifting" touchscreen is likely to be integrated into large displays such as Redmond's Surface - rather than smartphones or tablets.

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