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IIT Madras develops a new display that lets you to touch and feel Online Products

Isn’t that a great enhancement of the technological world, where you can do everything right from your room, without even moving a bit, with the help of your smartphone? Well, it takes a new upgrade by soon letting you to touch and feel online products in e-commerce websites directly via your smartphone’s screen. The textures of the products can be felt as you gently rub the smartphone’s display.

The mismatch of user experience and their expectation in online-platforms, mostly attributed to the inability to feel the product in online accounts for 30% returns in online-shopping. IIT Madras has approached this to innovate world’s first display via which you can feel the product.

IIT-M’s New Display Tech

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) researchers have a developed a new generation touchscreen display technology that lets users feel the texture of the images on their smartphone with the swipe of a finger.

Called as ‘iTad’, the display technology can create crisp edges, switches and textures ranging from smooth to gritty and the tech has hardware and software working for that.

A new special layer added to the existing touchscreen display will create friction through the software.  Touchscreens that are currently in market can only sense the location of the finger’s touch. While this tech equips in-built multi-touch sensor for detecting the movement of the finger as well as surface friction adjusted via software.

“By just programming wherever we need less or more friction, we can give the user a realistic feeling of the texture. So, you can not only see and hear from your device, but also touch and feel it,” Prof M Manivannan of the Department of Applied Mechanics, IIT-Madras said.

The researchers are currently testing this display-technology on a computer screen and are looking to soon transfer it to smartphones.

What’s Next?

Merkel Haptics, a startup incubated at IITM Research Par has been working with TouchLab researchers to take the technology forward, to merge the idea with top smartphone makers. According to the researches, iTad seems beneficial for consumer electronics, digital signage, home automation, medical industrial and gaming.

“We are now testing with visually challenged people. We are going to talk to some big brands in the retail market soon,” the professor confirmed.

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P V Padmapriya, CEO of Merkal Haptics explained that the prototype from the TouchLab will demand a year’s time to be a marketable product. “Our aim is to make a small device, similar to a computer mouse, on everyone’s desk to add to the experience. We have been field testing and providing feedback to IITM researchers on improving the functionality of the technology,” she added.

Moreover, their future approach will have next-level of algorithm allowing users to feel videos they see on their television, computer and cellphone.

After the tech-device that gives you the taste of food virtually by licking it, here is another finding that goes untraditionally innovative letting to feel the product virtually. Future may have more of the kind, it seems.

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