Kyocera Corp developed a touch panel that gives the user a feeling of pressing a button and exhibited it at CEATEC Japan 2011, which runs from Oct 4 to 8, 2011.
Kyocera calls the touch panel "New Sensation Touch Panel." Also, KDDI Corp prototyped a device like a smartphone by using the new touch panel and demonstrated that it is possible to input characters and use a Web browser with the device.
Kyocera arrayed piezoelectric elements between the LCD panel and touch panel of the New Sensation Touch Panel. And the piezoelectric elements vibrate the touch panel to stimulate a fingertip so that the user has a feeling of pressing a button.
The piezoelectric elements also function as sensors that detect pressure when the touch panel is pressed by a finger. In accordance with the coordinates of a pressed point, pressing force and feel to be created, the vibration of the panel is controlled.
"It can express a variety of feels by changing the number (frequency) and amplitude of vibration that is generated on the touch panel by the piezoelectric elements," Kyocera said.
The new touch panel gives feelings of clicking a button, pressing a soft, mechanical button, half-pressing and then completely pressing down a shutter button, etc. Also, it is possible to make the user feel as if there are buttons on the touch panel when the user is stroking the panel with a finger.
Though it is possible to make the touch panel support a multi-touch function, it is not possible to give touch feelings to multiple fingers simultaneously.
"Its vibration pattern differs depending on coordinates," Kyocera said. "Therefore, when a finger has a feeling of touching a button, another finger in different coordinates feels only a vibration."