Apple enters the era of genuine haptic touch
26 March 2015
Apple’s recent announcement of the new Mac track pad is good news for Aito and the haptic user interface community. If Apple’s track record of changing user interface paradigms holds true also this time, we could see a lot more implementations of genuine haptic touch controls in many products soon. Here is why we believe Apple’s new development will be setting a big trend:
Combining force input with haptic feedback makes a lot of sense when we consider how humans lift up objects. When we grab an egg or a bottle of water, our fingers apply just enough pressure on the surface, without letting it slip or crush. Even without knowing the objects weight, we can subconsciously apply the right amount of pressure by the feedback we receive from touching the surface. In a way, we humans apply a kind of ‘force measurement with haptic feedback’ all the time.
Similarly, Apple’s Force Touch Track pad would not feel intuitive without haptic feedback. The ‘click’ feel is matched with the amount of pressure applied by the finger on the track pad. By distinguishing a hard press from a soft press, Apple enables new capabilities such as adding an additional layer of information on the screen.
The haptic feedback provided by the ‘Taptic engine’ is very subtle, as it just tries to emulate a physical key press. This is quite a change from many previous implementations such as mobile phones, where haptic feedback merely is a pre-defined set of vibrations and alerts. This natural ‘click’ feeling of the track pad is what makes all the difference from user experience point of view: you will get used to it very rapidly, without thinking or effort.
Aito’s Haptic Touch solution provides a very similar natural experience in much of the same way as the Apple Track Pad. The Software Enabled Piezo technology matches the haptic feedback based on the force or pressure applied by the finger. Also, the feedback is perfectly natural as the piezo actuation is tightly controlled and applied locally, at the fingertip. With Aito’s HapticTouch one can mimic a wide range of physical key presses through any material and not just in the way it feels but also how it sounds. In addition, the piezo technology is very sensitive, allowing for many levels of pressure detection and therefore enabling a plethora of new capabilities.
With innovations from Aito and Apple, we foresee a new era of genuine haptic touch developments, from companies, research institutes and the vast innovative developer community out there. So stay tuned or get involved by contacting us!