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.