Kyocera demonstrated their "New Sensation Touch Panel" at CEATEC 2011 in Japan. The touch panel can give a feeling of pressing a button when touched by using piezoelectric elements between the LCD panel and touch panel.
Touch panels with "feeling of pressing" developed
Miss the good old days when physical buttons felt like… physical buttons? Touch panel makers have tried to imitate that for some time and with Kyocera’s new so-called "Sensation Touch Panel" we are getting one step closer.
Kyocera’s touch panel gives a feeling of pressing down buttons, picture credit: Nikkei
By utilizing a piezoelectric layer between the actual LCD panel and touch sensor Kyocera can imitate the feeling of pressing a button on the screen. Piezoelectric basically means electricity resulting from pressure, and the piezoelectric layer creates a feeling of pressing down a button on the area of the screen touched by a finger.
Kyocera says that they can create a variety of feels by changing the frequency and amplitude of vibration from the piezoelectric elements. They can for example imitate pressing a keyboard button, a soft mechanical button, half-pressing a button or completely pressing down a shutter button.
One disadvantage of the current technology is the lack of multi-touch functionality. Kyocera says that the current technology only supports one touch-area on the screen at a time. If a second finger touches the screen it only feels a vibration but no feeling of pressing down a button.
Kyocera has not announced concrete plans to commercialize the concept at this point. In the past other "tactile" touch panels have been exhibited.