What is Electrovibration?

Touch technology has profoundly changed the way people engage with information, and the burgeoning tablet market points to a consumer that tends toward the ease of a natural user interface over a mouse and touchpad for their personal computing devices. Discovered in 1954, electrovibration refers to the process when a finger is dragged across a conductive, insulated surface, creating an electrostatic force that results in a rubbery, sticky, bumpy or vibrating sensation. Applied to today’s mobile devices, the phenomenon of electrically induced vibration is expected to herald the next evolution of touchscreen technology, offering the potential to feel the content or media one is viewing. Finnish company Senseg is at the forefront of the move to apply this haptic technology into smartphone and tablet prototypes, although electrovibration is also being explored by Disney Research. The future of “feelscreen”-enhanced devices offer great possibilities for deeper interaction with educational and recreational content, and with it an accessibility that caters to users with physical and mental disabilities.