Disney is certainly not the only company that has ongoing research in the field, but they have put significant resources into making touch displays feel like the object on the screen. The technology is called tactile touch and could make it to tablets in the future.
Disney demonstrates tactile touch display
What if you could actually feel the keyboard and buttons on your tablet? Or feel the texture or surface of the objects that appear on the screen? This is possible with tactile – or haptic – technology.
Disney has developed a touch technology that lets you feel the objects on the display
Disney has developed a technique in which small electrical impulses are sent through the display to your fingertip. Depending on how the impulses are controlled they can imitate “resistance” and thus textures or surfaces to mimic real objects – at least to some degree. The impulses are controlled dynamically so the operating system can pop up and eliminate buttons or textures without delay.
Even though the idea of integrating tactile technology into tablets has been suggested often, we have not seen any mainstream products employ the technology. One of the most talked about implementations is from a company called Senseg that claimed in December 2011 that tactile technology would come to tablets "within the next year". That – obviously - did not happen, but the dream lives on – with Disney onboard.
Do you want to learn more about Disney’s TeslaTouch see this whitepaper.