29 thoughts on “Tactile Computer Interface With Electromagnets

  1. I am extremely sceptical about anything that requires putting on gloves but it is an interesting proof of concept. Maybe the technology used for wireless charging could be used to create the magnetic field to precisely produce the tactile feedback at will and also, who knows, it would allow charging the phone by placing it on top of the screen. Maybe someone could embed a big screen on a table and place this thing below and you could have a big table with tactile feedback and capable of charging phones.

      1. I seem to remember something about that, I think here on Hackaday. The downside for the guy trying it out is eventually the magnet kills the tissue between it and the surface you’re interacting with.

        I mean, makes sense when you think about the fact that the magnet is drawn towards ferrous material outside your skin.

  2. Interesting tech, I’m not sure to how much overall benefit it has for mobile devices. Electromagnets require a ferrous metal core for any kind of precision of the electromagnetic field, even with aluminum wire windings this will add weight. There is the additional demand on the battery. Battery life, and weight both seem to be two criteria by which mobile devices are judged. The brain is going to hard wire new pathways to learn a new tactile sensation. The older the person, the more effort, time that will take. I wonder how long it will be for some hacker to create a facsimile of this to control input into a project they are making?

  3. Gloves would be a plus, do you know how dirty keyboards are? Even touch screens. So i would not mind gloves at all. If the resolution gets way better then this would be useful.

    Imaging disabled people who can not keep a steady hand on a touch screen. This would be so good for them.

  4. PCB coils ought to work here, with printed iron 400um particles suspended in RTV adhesive in the centre of each coil.

    To add field strength, stack multiple boards with through hole vias and then use solder balls held in indents on the top of each board then melt the stack together in one operation.

    Any chance this will work?

  5. Re. implanted magnets

    Seems that the trick is to plate the magnet with titanium and then pyrolytic graphite, so that the body just ignores it.
    This is used on hip prosthetics and a lot of other
    implantable devices.

    What WOULD be nice is an implantable >128GB shielded pendrive with 3G, wifi and bluetooth interfaces powered by the heat of the body.
    Never lose your data again!

  6. I find typing on an iPad only slightly less functional then you average laptop keyboard.
    This lies mostly that a lot of special characters are hidden behind alternative keyboard mappings.

    Just like a small laptop keyboard I default to eight fingered typing instead of ten like I do on my big-ass split wedged ergonomic board.

    I think that the tactile feedback of a button is a secondary perceived function that resulted from the basic implementation of the concept “button”. The amount of mechanical tactile response on keyboards over the years has greatly decreased also(which also cause a few arguments here and there). It’s just that people have grown accustomed to mechanical buttons and therefor think they somehow rely on this feature.

    The only real advantage of a dedicated plank with buttons is surface real-estate and combination keys.
    During the coming decade, people will grow up that will barely come into contact with the old button paradigm and will prefer a flat on-screen input method.

  7. I think this with a finer array and varying magnet strength, and a tablet pen in place of a finger magnet woudl give you the feel of the surface you were sculpting in 3d sculpting packages, or even the feel of canvas types when painting.
    Very cool.

  8. There’s no need for magnets on the fingers. Water in the body is diamagnetic, and naturally creates a repulsive force when exposed to magnetic fields. So, all you need is a sufficiently strong magnet. About 15 teslas should do the trick.

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