Microsoft eyes shape-shifting touch screen

Microsoft seems to be aiming to develop touch screens that can alter their surface, giving users the feeling that they're touching an actual object.

Microsoft could be looking to give touch screens more of a tactile feel.

A patent filed by the software giant in 2009 and published last week details a light-induced shape-memory polymer display screen. In a nutshell, that means a touch screen that has a real texture and tactile feedback to it, making people feel as if they're touching an actual object.

Invented by Erez Kikin-Gil, the screen would be coated with polymers that could change or hold their shape when different wavelengths of ultraviolet light hit the pixels from underneath, according to an article in New Scientist.

The screen could be set up to not only display images but also specific interfaces, such as a virtual keyboard, with users receiving tactile feedback from each key pressed.

The technology will initially find its way onto large screens such as Microsoft's Surface , rather than in phones or tablets, according to the patent.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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