Reflective Haptics

The »Reflective Haptics« touch pen is enabled to change its friction against on the screen.

This project investigates a new type of feedback for touch screen styli: frictional actuation. The proposed pen has a ball on its tip, which is connected to an electromagnetic coil. This coil serves as a brake to the ball, enabling fine-tuned control for the force required to drag the pen over the surface. For instance, this allows GUI elements with surface properties and weight.

In times of information overload, users often face great amounts of information to navigate through. The frictionally-augmented touch pen in this project can display the priority of a news item through the force that it requires to be scrolled by, making it easier to stop at those items that have been rated high by the community.

Being able to control the force that is necessary to move the pen over the surface enables the computer to make consequence-laden operations, e.g. signing a contract, harder to perform than less influential operations, e.g. signing a letter.

Our hands are skillful by themselves, but they may need material resistance to operate up to their full potential. Adding friction to some elements of a software, e.g. the guides within a layout software, can help us to make manipulatinig the digital space more realistic, leveraging on the inherent skills of the human hand.

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Fabian Hemmert