Haptics comes from the Greek ἅπτω = "I fasten onto, I touch". Haptic technology interfaces with the user via the sense of touch.
Haptic or Tactile Feedback refers to the sensation of touch and the information gathered through it. An example of this is the "rumble" feedback provided by the hand-held controller of some game consoles.
By applying a mechanical stimulation to the user during a touch of the button gives the confirmation of a press, similar to the "click" of a metal dome in a membrane keypad. A small tactile feedback generator placed underneath the touch interface can provide the mechanical stimulation needed to feel a simulated button click through your finger tip.
The tactile feedback generator has an interesting side effect, it turns the touch interface into a speaker, which allows you to hear high fidelity audio.
The interaction of the device with its user makes or breaks a product. Previously products used to have mechanical buttons. Many users appreciate the reassuring confirmation feedback they received through their finger tips.
A capacitive touch interface or a keyboard generally has a flat surface with no moving parts. Haptics is used with capacitive touch technology, to provide users with the sense of confidence that they've engaged with a keypad.
There are some things we cannot take for granted like the sounds of hands clapping and laughter.
Rumble-pack controllers found in most video game systems are used to create the illusion of realism.
Buttons that glowed on the earliest video game screens now enter our daily lives as simple machine to human interfaces.
Haptics in a fast touch system is provided by an exciter placed underneath the touch interface. It can provide the mechanical stimulation needed to feel the button click. A diagrammatic illustration of haptics in the fast touch system is shown below:
The Fast Touch IC monitors the capacitive touch pad. Whenever, a button is actuated the Fast Touch IC communicates with the haptics driver IC and chooses the desired effect. The haptics driver IC stores all the data required to produce the desired effects. Upon receiving communication from the Fast Touch IC, the data stored in the haptics driver IC is used to produce bending waves. These waves are dispersed uniformly along the surface to produce a mechanical stimulation at the tip of the finger. This way you can feel the sensation of a click.
Using our tactile feedback solution, we can provide the following effects
Every capacitive touch button in a fast touch system can be mapped to an effect when it is pressed, released or both to provide the sensation of a click
While using wheels or sliders in a capacitive touch interface, the user can feel a simple “click” as they go up or down with a bump effect when they are at the maximum or minimum. The climate control rotary knob is a great example in this regard.
Haptics can also subtly alert users to errors that may occur while the system is operating or to provide more guidance to the user as they use their touch interface. This could be very similar to the rumble effect in gamepads, joysticks etc.
Designing a haptics system is not a trivial process. First we have to determine the ideal place to position the exciter so that it gives the optimal effect. Secondly, we need to understand the noise implications of adding the extra circuitry to your fast touch interface.
We have tools to identify the ideal place to position the exciter that gives the optimal tactile feedback effect and also tools to adjust the noise algorithms. Based on our analysis, we can make recommendations to your mechanical and industrial designers, which would help expedite the prototyping process. The extra work on our part during the prototyping stage and the extra components needed to make the interface will add cost to the final interface.
An exciter placed underneath the fascia or the overlay converts the whole surface as the diaphragm of the speaker. When the exciter is stimulated, the fascia or the interface vibrates creating an audio feedback. A diagrammatic illustration of the audio feedback using an exciter is shown below:
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