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Microsoft Touch future
Future touch-screens change shape when touched

07 Dec 2010 | Rasmus Larsen |

Future touch screens can change the shape of the surface when touched - at least if it’s up to Microsoft to change the future. A recent update from the U.S. patent office reveals that Microsoft has sent a patent application back in May 2009 to patent such technology .

The future of touch screens

At the moment this is only a concept and no real products have been announced but according to a patent application it’s now possible to change the topography of a screen.

Microsoft’s touch screen changes shape when touched
Microsoft’s touch screen changes shape when touched


The patent application refers to a so-called"Light-induced shape-memory polymer display screen" technology. The technology enables Microsoft to change a screen’s topography to - for example - resemble a real keyboard, by creating bumps and ridges similar to a real surface with keyboard keys.

Microsoft’s touch screen changes shape when touched
Microsoft’s touch screen changes shape when touched


Not all aspects of the technology have been described in detail in the patent application but here’s what we discovered. The patent refers to a"polymer" screen, which could mean that Microsoft is talking about the OLED technology. Microsoft has also described that the technology works by using a thin layer of plastic above each pixel. By utilizing ultraviolet light this layer can change the topography of the screen by changing each pixel.

No real products or prototypes have been revealed at this point. Some suggest that the technology is a hot subject for the next-gen Microsoft Surface; the large multi-touch table.
Some time ago Apple patented a touch technology that, when touched, sends out a small vibration in the touched section of the screen.



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