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28 Apr, 2023
1 min time to read

The Future Interfaces Group at Carnegie Mellon University has made a breakthrough in display technology by developing a screen that can grow small physical bumps that can be felt under the fingers.

The technology uses miniaturised hydraulic pumps to raise the surface through fluid, with each pump being individually controllable and capable of creating dynamic, tactile bumps in a compact form factor. The hardware is self-contained, lightweight, relatively slim at 5mm, and able to withstand the force of a normal touchscreen interaction.

While this is currently emergent technology owned by Carnegie Mellon, it could potentially be used for a range of applications such as tactile notifications, pop-up keyboards, buttons that remain inflated until pressed, and pop-up custom-shaped buttons for controlling system functions.

Apple could use this technology in the future for a device that folds flat but has a pop-out keyboard when in use, along with multiple accessibility use cases for those who have sight problems. It is unclear if this technology will be implemented in Apple devices or other products, but it's a promising concept that could enhance user experience.

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