One of the most important features of any wearable Health Tech device is how the user interacts with it. For many devices, the most difficult task is developing a good means for the user to input commands. As a result, we’re always on the lookout for new products and technologies that can improve the user interface.
That’s why I was interested to find HAP2U at CES 2017. The company has developed a haptic interface that can be added to touch displays, such as LCD panels. The device generates vibrations that create a variety of sensations when you interact with the touch screen. For example, if you rotate a volume control knob on the screen, you can feel the clicks as the knob turns. Other sensations can include clicks and friction (as when moving a slider). It can even provide feedback in response to the amount of force applied to the touch screen.
The system relies on a later than is only two microns thick, and provides real time feedback with no apparent latency. (Latency is the delay between the input and the response.) The system is incorporated in the display panel fabrication process; the company is looking for display partners that want to license the technology for their panels. A haptic feedback system like this could make small touch displays — such as the faces of smartwatches — much easier to use. We’ll be watching for this technology to appear in products in the near future.