Fujitsu Realizes Haptic Touch Panel Using Ultrasound Waves

2014/02/26 10:35
Tadashi Nakamichi, Nikkei Electronics
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Fujitsu Ltd and Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd prototyped a touch panel that gives haptic feedback by using ultrasound waves and exhibited it at Mobile World Congress 2014.

The event runs from Feb 24 to 27, 2014, in Barcelona, Spain. There are some technologies that give haptic feedback with static electricity or vibration, but it is the industry's first haptic feedback system that uses ultrasound waves, Fujitsu said.

The new system generates ultrasonic vibration on the entire surface of a touch panel in accordance with the position of the user's finger. The ultrasonic vibration forms a high-pressure air layer between the finger and the touch panel. And the floating effect of the layer reduces the resistance between the finger and the touch panel, giving a slick feeling.

It is also possible to give a harsh feeling to the user by continuously switching between the floating state and the non-floating state.

Conventionally, a large amount of energy is required for using vibration to generate ultrasound waves. Therefore, ultrasound waves are considered to be unsuited for haptic interfaces. This time, Fujitsu and Fujitsu Laboratories developed a technology to efficiently vibrate a mobile touch panel. However, they did not disclose how the technology was applied to the touch panel.

In a demonstration, the prototype was giving a feeling of turning the dial of a safe and different haptic feedbacks in accordance with the position of the user's finger on the picture of an alligator. Fujitsu and Fujitsu Laboratories will continue the research and development on possible haptic feedbacks and their variety, aiming to commercialize the technology within fiscal 2015.