Video: Toshiba's amazing, tactile feedback-based UI solution for touchpanels

Many hardware makers, especially in the mobile device area, are betting high on touchscreens to let users interact with their products. Toshiba subsidiary Toshiba Information Systems has now developed the “New Sensation UI Solution”, which is supposed to make user interaction via touchscreens more intuitive through tactile feedback.

While this approach isn’t new in itself, Toshiba’s technology is different from other solutions as it doesn’t actually “move” hardware through actuators. Instead, the system is based on a special film that’s affixed to the touchpanel. That film, made by a Finnish company called Senseg, gives tactile feedback to the user when he or she touches the screen, charging the film.

And the system’s pretty flexible, too. For example, users will get the sensation of touching a stone when their fingers move over a screen showing an image of one. Toshiba says the sensation returned to the user if the display shows a piece of wood, metal or other objects, is completely different. The system (obviously) works with PC touchpads, too.

What also sounds cool is that the film can be affixed to uneven surfaces, too, meaning your next phone could give you tactile feedback not only from the display but also from the back cover.

According to Toshiba Information Systems, the film will cost between $0.10 and $0.20 in mass-production. The first e-book readers, notebooks and cell phones using the technology are expected to come out next year.

Here’s a video providing more details: