CyberEdge Journal

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Update on Immersion's Touchsense technology

I just got back form a visit to Immersion to take a look, er, feel, of their new TouchSense system, which I wrote about last week.

Mike Levin, VP Industrial and Gaming, showed me the system. In a word, or two, it works. I was amazed at how the touchscreen buttons felt like real objects when I pushed them. The demo was simple, based on a control panel for an automobile. Each button had a distinctive feel. Some were used to select functions, such as the heater or radio, which opened a second-level screen. The second-level screens replicated controls – volume, channel, temperature, etc. Each of these controls had a slide with detent feel, and they also signaled end of range with a different vibration. The system is slick and obvious, and to me, seems like an excellent application for haptic feedback.

While I was there, Mike also showed me a VibeTonz-equipped cell phone. This system replaces the simple vibration common in cellphones with tunable vibrations that can be attached to ring tones, used in games, or assigned by the user to different numbers, just as one assigns different rings. This system also works well, and seems definitelyy useful. The first Samsung phones with VibeTonz were released in April by Verizon Wireless.

(Disclaimer: I own a bit of Immersion stock and have consulted with them in the past.)


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