Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flexible touch screen for intuitive e-book reading

This bendable interface is what exactly e-book readers should have.


Intuitive page-turning interface of e-books on flexible e-paper


T. Tajika, T. Yonezawa, and N. Mitsunaga, "Intuitive page-turning interface of e-books on flexible e-paper based on user studies," in Proceeding of the 16th ACM international conference on Multimedia. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: ACM, 2008.

Abstract: In this paper we propose an intuitive page-turning and browsing interface of e-books on a flexible e-paper based on user studies. Our user studies showed various types of page-turning actions such as flipping, grasping, and sliding by different situations or users. We categorized these actions into three categories: turn, flip through, and leaf through the page(s). Based on this categorized model, we have developed a conceptual design and prototype of an interface for an e-book reader, which enables intuitive page-turning interactions using a simple architecture in both hardware and software design. The prototype has a flexible plastic sheet with bend sensors, which is attached to a small LCD monitor to physically unite the visual display with a tangible control interface based on the natural page-turning actions as used in reading a real book. The prototype handles all three page-turning actions observed in the user studies by interpreting the bend degree of the sheet.

Microsoft is working on a new touch-screen mobile phone "Pink"

 Microsoft Pink is a Touch Screen Mobile Phone
 Rumored new PSP will drop UMDs, add touchscreen
 Apple may launch a new kind of touch-screen device
 Sensitive Object's Anywhere MultiTouch extends touch sensitivity to the whole device
 The Nokia 5800 already supports multitouch, sort of...
 N-trig Catalyzes Multi-Touch Application Market with New DuoSenseTM Development System For ISVs
 Teleoperated Design Revealed for Assistant Robots

3D Capacitive Touch Sensing

Five electrical and computer engineering students at Northeastern University have designed a low-cost human-computer interface device that has the ability to track the position of a user's hand in three dimensions. Physical contact is not required and the user does not need to hold a controller or attach markers to their body.  You simply wave your hand over the device to control the computer.

The video shows visual feedback applications in the beginning, 3d manipulation capabilities in the middle, and a brand new type of 3-dimensional musical controller.

Thanks Free Flow!

3D Computer Interface from Free Flow on Vimeo.

Of course, there have been other research and engineering works in this 3D capacitive sensing field, for example,

  1. DIY 3D Capacitive Touch Sensing
  2. Mitsubishi Demos ‘3D Touch Panel’ — Tech-On!
  3. Touch Paper: Thracker - Using Capacitive Sensing for Gesture Recognition
  4. Intel implements robots that sense before they touch

Flexible electronics sensors for tactile multi-touching

Flexible electronics sensors for tactile multi-touching
W. Y. Chang, T. H. Fang, S. H. Yeh, and Y. C. Lin, "Flexible electronics sensors for tactile multi-touching," Sensors, vol. 9, pp. 1188-1203, 2009. [Online]. Available:
Flexible electronics sensors for tactile applications in multi-touch sensing and large scale manufacturing were designed and fabricated. The sensors are based on polyimide substrates, with thixotropy materials used to print organic resistances and a bump on the top polyimide layer. The gap between the bottom electrode layer and the resistance layer provides a buffer distance to reduce erroneous contact during large bending. Experimental results show that the top membrane with a bump protrusion and a resistance layer had a large deflection and a quick sensitive response. The bump and resistance layer provided a concentrated von Mises stress force and inertial force on the top membrane center. When the top membrane had no bump, it had a transient response delay time and took longer to reach steady-state. For printing thick structures of flexible electronics sensors, diffusion effects and dimensional shrinkages can be improved by using a paste material with a high viscosity. Linear algorithm matrixes with Gaussian elimination and control system scanning were used for multi-touch detection. Flexible electronics sensors were printed with a resistance thickness of about 32 ┬Ám and a bump thickness of about 0.2 mm. Feasibility studies show that printing technology is appropriate for large scale manufacturing, producing sensors at a low cost.

Touch Screen Patents April 30th, 2009

    • Hotelling,Steve; Strickon,Joshua A.; Huppi,Brian Q./US-0267532/2008-11-07
  • Optical Touchscreen with Improved Illumination
    • Newton,John/US-0201463/2008-08-29
    • Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc./US-0212589/2008-09-17
    • TPO Displays Corp./US-0207264/2008-09-09
    • Apple Inc./US-0856530/2007-09-17
  • Pocket Data Input Board
    • AMIRI,AHMAD/US-0173691/2008-07-15
  • Systems and Methods For Providing A Haptic Manipulandum
    • Immersion Corporation/US-0272547/2008-11-17
  • Systems and Methods For Providing A Haptic Manipulandum
    • Immersion Corporation/US-0272528/2008-11-17
    • Motorola, Inc./US-0856283/2007-09-17
    • SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD./US-0195567/2008-08-21
  • Apparatus and method for controlling operation of mobile terminal
    • Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd./US-0076945/2008-03-25
  • Glove attachment for touch sensitive data entry
    • Earl,Steven R./US-0854164/2007-09-12
    • BALLY GAMING, INC./US-0271802/2008-11-14
    • Advanced Medical Optics, Inc./US-0857331/2007-09-18
  • Ultrasonic Imaging System With Body Marker Annotations
    • MERIT INDUSTRIES, INC./US-0212196/2008-09-17
    • Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd/US-0193937/2008-08-19
    • KIM,Young Hwan; Jung,Deok Hwa/US-0202025/2008-08-29
  • Targeting Location Through Haptic Feedback Signals
    • PALM, INC./US-0855879/2007-09-14
    • Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V./US-0718992/2005-11-04
  • Security System With Networked Touchscreen
    • Dawes,Paul J.; Fulker,Jim; Wales,Carolyn/US-0197946/2008-08-25
  • Security System With Networked Touchscreen and Gateway
    • Dawes,Paul J.; Fulker,Jim; Wales,Carolyn/US-0197931/2008-08-25
  • Networked Touchscreen With Integrated Interfaces
    • Dawes,Paul J.; Fulker,Jim; Wales,Carolyn/US-0197895/2008-08-25
  • Method For Networked Touchscreen With Integrated Interfaces
    • Dawes,Paul J.; Fulker,Jim; Wales,Carolyn/US-0197958/2008-08-25
    • YANG,Arden/US-0212953/2008-09-18
    • Sony Computer Entertainment Inc./US-0234325/2008-09-19

Touch screen that changes its surface

  1. Step Aside, Multitouch and Haptics: This Touchscreen Has Buttons
  2. Physical buttons on touchscreens could soon be a reality

Haptic touch screen technology without vibration

Via CrunchGear:

Instead, the Senseg system stimulates your fingers or hand with an electrical field to simulate the feeling of friction or texture. The only way I can describe it as being a cross between rubbing soft sandpaper and getting a static electric shock.


Large capacitive multi-touch touch screen from MOTO Development group

Moto development group unveils a thin and large multi-touch touch screen using capacitive touch sensing

Scalable Multi-Touch Prototype from MOTO Development Group on Vimeo.

Monday, April 27, 2009

“Eyes Free” interface for iPhone: TapTapDial


This small iPhone application is developed to assist blind dialing while you are driving. Also, it is for the vision impaired. The user interface is based on the touch-tapping gesture while Google’s approach takes use of stroke gestures.

[via Cookware, Inc.]

Bendable, twistable phones

It seems that people are not satisfied with just touching screens. Design firm Pilotfish unveiled a phone that senses bending and twisting gestures for music editing. Combining those gestures with musical applications is cool. But I should note that the concept of bending and twisting user interface is not new.

Ondo twistable smartphone

Pilotfish’s Ondo twistable smartphone concept via engadget, Reuters, and


Sony CSL Gummi

Gummi Project, 2004


I Sense A Disturbance in the Force: Mobile Device Interaction with Force Sensing

J. Scott, L. Brown, and M. Molloy, "I Sense A Disturbance in the Force: Mobile Device Interaction with Force Sensing,"  MSR-TR-2008-57, 2008.


TWEND: Twisting and Bending as new Interaction Gesture in Mobile Devices

TWEND: Twisting and Bending as new Interaction Gesture in Mobile Devices

G. Herkenrath, T. Karrer, and J. Borchers, "Twend: twisting and bending as new interaction gesture in mobile devices," in CHI '08 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems. Florence, Italy: ACM, 2008.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gigantic tactile display

This is really a huge tactile display.


via: Multitouch Maven: Multitouch Design Roundup

Compare the above with this cute tactile display.

SaLT: Small and Lightweight Tactile Display

Multitouch papers April 27th

Let’s start this week with bunch of papers !!
  1. E. Koskinen, T. Kaaresoja, and P. Laitinen, "Feel-good touch: Finding the most pleasant tactile feedback for a mobile touch screen button," presented at ICMI'08: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Multimodal Interfaces, Chania, Crete, 2008.
  2. J. B. De La Rivi?re, C. Kerv?gant, E. Orvain, and N. Dittlo, "CubTile: A multi-touch cubic interface," presented at Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology, VRST, Bordeaux, 2008.
  3. S. Izadi, S. Hodges, S. Taylor, D. Rosenfeld, N. Villar, A. Butler, and J. Westhues, "Going beyond the display: A surface technology with an electronically switchable diffuser," presented at UIST 2008 - Proceedings of the 21st Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, Monterey, CA, 2008.
  4. H. Benko, A. D. Wilson, and R. Balakrishnan, "Sphere: Multi-touch interactions on a spherical display," presented at UIST 2008 - Proceedings of the 21st Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, Monterey, CA, 2008.
  5. S. Webel, J. Keil, and M. Zoellner, "Multi-touch gestural interaction in X3D using Hidden Markov Models," presented at Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology, VRST, Bordeaux, 2008.
  6. A. Olwal and A. D. Wilson, "Surface fusion: Unobtrusive tracking of everyday objects in tangible user interfaces," presented at Proceedings - Graphics Interface, Windsor, ON, 2008.
  7. C. Miller, A. Robinson, R. Wang, P. Chung, and F. Quek, "Interaction techniques for the analysis of complex data on High-Resolution displays," presented at ICMI'08: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Multimodal Interfaces, Chania, Crete, 2008.
  8. P. L. Davidson and J. Y. Han, "Extending 2D object arrangement with pressure-sensitive layering cues," presented at UIST 2008 - Proceedings of the 21st Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, Monterey, CA, 2008.
  9. A. Butler, S. Izadi, and S. Hodges, "Sidesight: multi-"touch" interaction around small devices," presented at UIST 2008 - Proceedings of the 21st Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, Monterey, CA, 2008.
  10. A. Soga, M. Shiba, and T. Kawamoto, "An attempt of real-time CG control with multi-touch devices," presented at Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology, VRST, Bordeaux, 2008.
  11. H. Saevanee and P. Bhattarakosol, "Authenticating user using keystroke dynamics and finger pressure," presented at 2009 6th IEEE Consumer Communications and Networking Conference, CCNC 2009, Las Vegas, NV, 2009.
  12. K. U. Kyung and J. Y. Lee, "wUbi-pen : Windows graphical user interface interacting with haptic feedback stylus," presented at ACM SIGGRAPH 2008 New Tech Demos, Los Angeles, CA, 2008.
  13. T. Grossman and D. Wigdor, "Going deeper: A taxonomy of 3D on the tabletop," presented at Tabletop 2007 - 2nd Annual IEEE International Workshop on Horizontal Interactive Human-Computer Systems, Newport, RI, 2007.
  14. C. Harrison and S.E. Hudson, “Texture displays: a passive approach to tactile presentation,” Proceedings of the 27th international conference on Human factors in computing systems, Boston, MA, USA: ACM, 2009, pp. 2261-2264.
  15. M. Benali-Khoudja, M. Hafez, J.M. Alexandre, and A. Kheddar, “Tactile interfaces: a state-of-the-art survey,” International Symposium on Robotics, 2004. [Online]. Available:

Touchscreen clip arts

Kicker studio and Wireframes provide good clip arts to describe touch screen user interface

Touchscreen stencils

[Touchscreen stencils from Kicker studio]

Touchscreen Gesture Icons

[Touchscreen gesture icons via Wireframes; Credits: Elaine Chen]

The Curious Case of Display Technologies

It is interesting that cutting-edge display technologies get ancient scrolls out of museums and libraries.

Ancient scrolls and HAC flexible display from Red Planet

curventa: compact fashion camera

Slim Sexy Scanner Looks Like A Saber

Shining Walls? No Problem!

DOD Flexible Display Initiative

Red Planet (HAC Flexible Display)

Signposts for Week Starting April 27th



Updated Dec. 12, 2009

More resources about true flexible multi-touch screens.

GelForce demo video clip


Siemens’s UI patent utilizing flexible pressure sensitive touch screen (US20070139391)

US20070139391 Input Device -

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Controlling robots on large multi-touch touch screen

J. Kato, D. Sakamoto, M. Inami, and T. Igarashi, “Multi-touch interface for controlling multiple mobile robots,” Proceedings of the 27th international conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems, Boston, MA, USA: ACM, 2009, pp. 3443-3448.


Multi-touch Interface for Controlling Multiple Mobile Robots



Muscular touchscreens from ArtificialMuscle

A Silicon Valley company ArtificialMuscle has showed off a new haptic applications for touchscreens at Interactive Display 2009. It is branded as the smartTouch and based on electroactive polymer artifical muscle technology.


Artificial Muscle haptics demo (CNET)

[via CNET]

Braille e-book reder

Yanko Design introduces a concept e-book design for the blind. It is also good for tactile web browsing for the visually impaired.

Braille e-book reder

Touchscreen calligraphy board

Touchscreen calligraphy tablet concept from Yanko Design. I think it needs a new type of touch sensing technology such as in-cell touch screens.


Touch Influences Your Korean Writing Skills

Touch Influences Your Korean Writing Skills Touch Influences Your Korean Writing Skills Touch Influences Your Korean Writing Skills

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Touch Screen Trackpad

Windows netbook with touchscreen trackpad


image Introduced at a Tokyo press conference this morning, the Mebius NJ70A features a secondary, smartphone-like display with a claimed resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. Replacing a standard trackpad, the secondary display allows multitouch operations such as panning and zooming, much like Apple's latest MacBooks. But in addition, the trackpad can show different screens, ranging from email and diary entries, to context-sensitive function key icons, to calendars, the Akihabara News report claims.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tabletops and Interactive Surfaces 2009

Tabletops and Interactive Surfaces 2009

Tabletops and Interactive Surfaces 2009

The use of the interactive surfaces is an exciting and emerging research area. Display technologies, such as projectors, LCD and OLED flat panels, and even flexible display substrates, coupled with input sensors capable of enabling direct interaction, make it reasonable to envision a not-so-distant future in which many surfaces in our environment from tabletops, walls and floors will function as a digital interactive display. This cross-disciplinary domain brings together different technologies and backgrounds such as camera and projector based systems, new display technologies, multi-touch sensing, user interface technologies, augmented reality, computer vision, multimodal interaction, novel input and sensing technologies, CSCW, and information visualization.

Data Glove for Touch Screens

Multimodal vision glove for touchscreens

An inexpensive haptic glove enabling people with visual impairments to picture and interact with basic algebra graphs through multiple points of interaction on touchscreens


Multimodal vision glove for touchscreens


M.S. Manshad and A.S. Manshad, “Multimodal vision glove for touchscreens,” Proceedings of the 10th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers and accessibility, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada: ACM, 2008, pp. 251-252.

Multi Touch Screens for Blind People

Slide rule: making mobile touch screens accessible to blind people using multi-touch interaction techniques

Slide Rule’s interface is entirely speech-based and has no visual representation. Slide Rule displays a solid color on the screen to indicate that it is running, but provides no other visual feedback.
Despite its non-visual interface, Slide Rule lays out objects on the screen spatially using linear lists. Users navigate through lists of items by scanning their fingers down the device surface, and use gestures to interact directly with on-screen objects. For example, rather than finding and tapping a ‘Forward’ button in the Mail application, users forward a message by locating the message with their finger and performing a right-flick gesture. This style of interaction is uncommon in systems designed for blind users, but reduces the need to constantly locate targets on the touch screen.


Slide rule: making mobile touch screens accessible to blind people using multi-touch interaction techniques 


  1. S.K. Kane, J.P. Bigham, and J.O. Wobbrock, “Slide rule: making mobile touch screens accessible to blind people using multi-touch interaction techniques,” Proceedings of the 10th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers and accessibility, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada: ACM, 2008, pp. 73-80. [Online]. Available:

See Also:

  1. A Tactile Web Browser for the Visually Disabled
  2. Touch screens and vision-impaired people
  3. Touch Screens for the Blind, from Google

3D Cylindrical Multi-touch Interface

Jeff. Han’s FTIR is applied to a cylindrical touch screen.



B. Shizuki, M. Naito, and J. Tanaka, "Browsing 3D Media Using Cylindrical Multi-touch Interface," presented at Multimedia, 2008. ISM 2008. Tenth IEEE International Symposium on, 2008. [Online]. Available:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Touch Screen Panel Key Patent Trend Analysis

Displaybank has released a touch screen panel key patent analysis report.

Global Touch Screen Panel Market Size

Global Touch Screen Panel Market Size

Patent Application Trend by Region

Patent Application Trend by Region

Patent Application Trend by Technology

Patent Application Trend by Technology

Thursday, April 16, 2009

CHI 2009 Video Showcase

Here are some of my favorites from CHI 2009 Video Showcase.


Remote impact: shadowboxing over a distance


Remote impact: shadowboxing over a distance

Exertion games - games that require physical effort from the user - have been attributed with many social, mental and in particular physical health benefits. However, research has shown that most current implementations support only light or moderate exercise. We are presenting "Remote Impact - Shadowboxing over a Distance", in which players punch and kick a life-size shadow of a remote participant in order to win the game. The game includes a novel multi-touch large-scale interaction surface that is soft (so no-one gets hurt), but can detect the location as well as the intensity of the players' even most extreme impacts. Remote Impact shows that computer-augmented games can support extreme exertion while supporting novel experiences, such as a reduced risk of injury and supporting distant players, offering a new way of thinking in which areas Human-Computer Interaction research can contribute to our lives.


Home, work, (play)


The first two segments of a three part series, these shorts were developed for Microsoft Volume Studios. Designed as purely inspirational pieces, to explore in a poetic narrative way how certain developing technologies could begin to blend and augment our daily lives.


New mobile UI with hand-grip recognition


New mobile UI with hand-grip recognition

Today, mobile phones are no longer devices supporting only voice communications. Many people use their mobile phones as multimedia players, cameras, messaging systems, etc. Therefore, it is required to design a user interface that improves the usability of multi-functional mobile phones. For this purpose, we proposed a novel user interface that utilizes touch sensing technology to support multi-functional devices. The proposed user interface is based on the assumption that the device can detect how a user holds the device. By analyzing the user's grip-pattern, the device recognizes the user's intention and adjusts itself to meet the specific needs of the user such as accessing an application. The concept of the user interface is presented through several use-case scenarios. In addition, the technical feasibility of the proposed interface is validated by implementing a working prototype system.


Pulp-based computing: a framework for building computers out of paper


Pulp-based computing: a framework for building computers out of paper

In this video, we describe a series of techniques for building sensors, actuators and circuit boards that behave, look, and feel like paper. By embedding electro-active inks, conductive threads and smart materials directly into paper during the papermaking process, we have developed seamless composites that are capable of supporting new and unexpected application domains in ubiquitous and pervasive computing at affordable costs.

Carville - A Razorfish Surface Application

Parents should not show it to their children.

Carville - A Razorfish Surface Application from Bryan Hamilton on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Touch Screen Conference Phone – Kicker Studio

Kicker Studio Touch Screen Conference Phone

Kicker Studio has designed a cool touch screen conference phone. The article details not only concept arts but also whole design processes.

I like its Poke feature…

Double-tapping on an icon “pokes” that line. Poking is a virtual nudge or kick under the table. It’s a light-weight form of back-channel conversation (although it only works if the other person is on a Kicker Conference Phone). Pokes only show to those who have been poked and they will also vibrate the pods if they are in use.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Large Multi-Touch Touch Screen using Projective Capacitive Sensing Technique

Projective capacitive sensing is usually applied to mobile touch screens. To the contrary, most large touch screens such as MS Surface and Perceptive Pixel use camera-based techniques. One reported exception is Sony SmartSkin that uses projective capacitive sensing.

Today, I found another example of large touch screens using projective capacitive technology.


Multitouch surface using projected capacitive technology


The big difference between those two is the sensor material. In the projective capacitive sensing, a mesh of electrodes acts as a touch sensor. SmartSkin uses copper electrode, while the one shown above utilizes ViP Interactive Foil.

At this time, only thing I know is that it is flexible, transparent and provided by Viual Planet.

I should check it out later.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Touch screen articles by Geoff Walker

Here is a good survey article on touch screen technologies by Geoff Walker:


Besides the above article, he has written several very informative reports on touch screens.

A small compilation about Haptic touch screens

Interactive Multimedia Technology: Last night I dreamt about haptic touch-screen overlays...

Great compilation about haptic and tactile touch screens.

I add another items from my previous posts

Graspable User Interface

Research title is similar with MIT Graspables, but a little different story by Prof. George Fitzmaurice

This research explores the use of physical artifacts to control, organize and manipulate digital information by offering a hybrid interaction dialog that exploits the affordances of physical artifacts and virtual media.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Tactile Web Browser for the Visually Disabled

Unintentionally, I’ve been writing a series of posts about touch screens and blind people :-) Previous posts introduced two methods to help the vision-impaired to use touch screens: vibration and multimodal interaction schemes. Today I’ve found another method in my paper labyrinth. Researchers at Visualization and Interactive Systems Institute presented a web browser combined with a specially designed tactile graphics display.


Tactile graphics display with a resolution of 120x60 pins displaying an image


With their method, texts of web pages are transformed into Braille characters and graphic images are directly copied onto the tactile display as shown in the figure below


First tactile page including text and photo (simulation on the left and magnified area on the right)


[1] M. Rotard, S. Kn?dler, and T. Ertl, “A tactile web browser for the visually disabled,” Proceedings of the sixteenth ACM conference on Hypertext and hypermedia, ACM New York, NY, USA, 2005, pp. 15-22. [PDF]

Monday, April 6, 2009

Touch Screens for the Blind, from Google

Google engineers have developed a touch screen application for a blind person. With the software, a user can dial on a touch screen without seeing it. If you are interested in finding out more about touch screen accessibility for blind users, links of Google Eyes-Free Android project and my previous post about touch screens and vision-impaired people will be helpful. More videos of the Google project can be found at YouTube.


Stroke Dialer For Eyes-Free Keypad Input

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ultimate 3D Touch and Gestural Interface Movie

A man builds a world with a futuristic interface for the girl he loves. An emotional version of Matrix. Video embedded below.

World Builder from Bruce Branit on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Apple Multi-Touch Touch Screen Patent Vs. Sony CSL SmartSkin

There have been many debates on Apple’s multi-touch touch screen patents. I’m not a patent attorney so I can’t say anything about who owns multi-touch. Rather, I introduce one of pioneers of multi-touch: Sony CSL’s SmartSkin Project. The project was lead by J. Rekimoto and the research work was published at CHI2002. In the below, I compare SmartSkin and possibly corresponding Apple’s patents with illustrations.

Sensing Mechanism



Sony SmartSkin

Apple (US2007/0257890A1)

Data Processing



Sony SmartSkin

Apple (US2006/0097991A1)

Multi-touch Gestures

image image

Sony SmartSkin

Apple (US2006/0026535A1)

Finally, Rekimoto said:

Use of transparent electrodes: A transparent SmartSkin sensor can be obtained by using Indium-Tin Oxide (ITO) or a conductive polymer. This sensor can be mounted in front of a flat panel display or on a rear-projection screen. Because most of today’s flat panel displays rely on active-matrix and transparent electrodes, they can be integrated with SmartSkin electrodes. This possibility suggests that in the future, display devices that will be interactive from the beginning, and will not require “retrofitting” sensor elements into them.


[1] J. Rekimoto, “SmartSkin: an infrastructure for freehand manipulation on interactive surfaces,” CHI '02: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, New York, NY, USA: ACM Press, 2002, pp. 113–120.

Multi-touch: UI trend for 2009

Design Reviver has introduced some design trends going on 2009. Of course, multi-touch is the first one.

Nokia Touch Photo Browser with 3D Effects

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Touch screens and vision-impaired people

It has been said Stevie Wonder complained iPhone and the recent touch screen devices don’t consider the blind. He pointed out what exactly touch screen lacks – tactile feedback. Vibration motors can give rough feeling of touch but cannot deliver sufficient tactile information to users.

Recently I came across an article reporting a touch screen for handicapped people. In the original article [1], the authors say that the system presents Braille characters using a series of pulses generated by a piezo-actuator. It does make sense to choose the piezo-actuator since its response is faster than that of a vibration motor.

After skimming the article, I have investigated my research database and web on the topic. Well, I think the ultimate solution is to something Lukas Koh presented: the surface of the touch screen is morphed into a keypad depending on the need. Some researchers [2] are working on related technologies but touch screen integration is far beyond imagination. It is still in the research area.

All In One Haptic Phone

More practical solutions at this time is to use other interaction channels such as audio [3, 4] and vibration feedback [1]. One example of vibration feedback is introduced above. Let me summarize other touch screen interaction methods for vision-impaired users.

NavTouch: Researchers at Technical University of Lisboa have presented audio-based touch screen interface called NavTouch [4].




iphone-haptics: It is not solely for the visually-impaired. But with delicate motor control, it can give users the feeling of finger down, finger up, and fingertip-over-edge.

Haptic waveform produced during 'click' 


Ambient Touch: Sony CSL’s Ambient Touch is yet another example of delicate vibration feedback. It uses a piezo-transducer as a haptic actuator.


Camera for the Blind: Nadeem Haidary’s Camera for the Blind lets vision-impaired users to take and share photographs

Camera for the Blind


What I’ve learned…

I have got two keywords through this study: assistive technology, and blind text entry.



[1] Jussi Rantala, R. Raisamo, J. Lylykangas, V. Surakka, J. Raisamo, K. Salminen, T. Pakkanen, and A. Hippula, “Methods for Presenting Braille Characters on a Mobile Device with a Touchscreen and Tactile Feedback,” IEE Tranactions on Haptics, vol. 2, Mar. 2009, pp. 28-39.

[2] Y. Kato, T. Sekitani, M. Takamiya, M. Doi, K. Asaka, T. Sakurai, and T. Someya, “Sheet-type braille displays by integrating organic field-effect transistors and polymeric actuators,” IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, vol. 54, 2007, p. 202.

[3] X. Chen, M. Tremaine, R. Lutz, J. Chung, and P. Lacsina, “AudioBrowser: a mobile browsable information access for the visually impaired,” Universal Access in the Information Society, vol. 5, 2005, pp. 4-22.

[4] T. Guerreiro, P. Lago, H. Nicolau, D. Gonalves, and J.A. Jorge, “From Tapping to Touching: Making Touch Screens Accessible to Blind Users,” IEEE MultiMedia, vol. 15, 2008, pp. 48-50.

[5] P. Ivan, M. Shigeaki, and R. Jun, "Ambient touch: designing tactile interfaces for handheld devices," in UIST '02: Proceedings of the 15th annual ACM symposium on User interface. New York, NY, USA, 2002, pp. 51--60.


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