Apple is developing haptic feedback for touchscreen keyboards
Apple has filed for a patent for 'Static Pattern Electrostatic Haptic Electrodes', which are designed to make touchscreen keyboards replicate the feel of a traditional keyboard.
In an article first published on Patently Apple website it found Apple's develoment technology relates to haptics that use one or more static pattern electrostatic haptic electrodes driven by one or more voltages to provide a variety of haptic output.
"A static pattern electrostatic haptic electrode may be disposed on a surface, such as a surface area of a display configured to display a virtual key of a virtual keyboard.
"For example, a static pattern electrostatic haptic electrode may be disposed on a planar haptic display where a virtual key of a virtual keyboard may be displayed. The static pattern electrostatic haptic electrode may include conductive material and voids within the conductive material such that the conductive material is densest at the edges of the virtual key and decreases towards a center of the virtual key where conductive material may be absent.
"This may allow the static pattern electrostatic haptic electrode to simulate a texture gradient or other texture change effect as a user's finger moves from an edge of the virtual key towards the center, simulating a concave depression in the surface of the virtual key despite the planar nature of the haptic display. Other electrostatic effects are possible and contemplated.
"When static pattern electrostatic haptic electrodes are used with a virtual key of a virtual keyboard or similar component, perceived textures and/or perceived shape differences related to different effective frictions may allow for user interactions that are more similar to more traditional three-dimensional and mechanical input structures.
"For example, this may allow users to find virtual keys and/or orient themselves on virtual keys during the small finger/hand motions users normally perform when typing on more traditional three-dimensional and mechanical keyboards. This may result in an improved user experience for virtual keyboards or other buttons or components.
"Further, as the orientations and locations where virtual keyboards and/or other components will be displayed may be known beforehand, the configuration of the static pattern electrostatic haptic electrodes may be static and designed to simulate textures, texture gradients, and shapes related to movement across virtual keys in particular directions. This may allow for creation of a wide variety of electrostatic haptic output."