Microsoft touchscreen patent could bring Braille to tablets

Tactile tech gets a patent

Microsoft has been busy designing a new patent that it hopes will revolutionise touchscreen devices.

According to the New Scientist, the touchscreen technology uses pixel-sized shape-memory plastic cells that can be called to the surface individually.

This technology could theoretically allow the shapes of objects to be 'felt' on a big-screen device, like a tablet.

You got the touch

The patent goes some way into explaining how the technology works, stating that that plastic is sprayed with polymer – a malleable coating which reacts differently depending what type of UV light is shone on it.

It is unknown how close to market the technology is, but if successful it could change the way touchscreens are used and even offer up a way to bring Braille on to mobile devices for the visually impaired.

It seems that the technology won't be coming to phones anytime soon, because it has been created for bigger touchscreens.

Microsoft could well implement it into its Surface devices in the future, though, as well as the inevitable slew of tablets.

Via The Inquirer


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Marc (Twitter, Google+) is the content team lead for Future Technology, where he is in charge of a 14-strong team of journalists who write many of the wonderful stories that end up on TechRadar, and T3 magazine. Prior to this he was deputy editor of TechRadar, had a 10-month stint editing a weekly iPad magazine, written film reviews for a whole host of publications and has been an integral part of many magazines that are no longer with us.