Electrostatic Vibration

Disney Research, Pittsburgh

We present Electrostatic Vibration (formerly “TeslaTouch”), a new technology for enhancing touch interfaces with tactile sensations. Electrostatic Vibration is based on the electrovibration phenomenon and does not use any moving parts. Our technology provides a wide range of tactile sensations to fingers sliding across surfaces of any shape and size, from small mobile displays to curved or wall-sized screens. Electrostatic Vibration can be easily combined with a wide range of touch sensing technologies, including capacitive, optical and resistive touch screens. When combined with an interactive display and touch input, our tactile technology enables the design of interfaces that allow the user to feel virtual elements through touch. It can be used to enhance a wide range of applications with rich tactile feedback, such as feeling properties of interface elements in graphical user interfaces, maps and characters in video games, textures and colors in graphical painting applications, and many more.

Research Paper

TeslaTouch: Electrovibration for Touch Surfaces

Olivier Bau, Ivan Poupyrev, Ali Israr, and Chris Harrison. 2010. TeslaTouch: electrovibration for touch surfaces. In Proceedings of the 23nd annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology (UIST ’10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 283-292.
Paper [PDF, 4.4MB]


Best Demo Award at World Haptics 2011.

Team and Credits

The Electrostatic Vibration project is being developed at Disney Research Pittsburgh by the Haptics Team, in collaboration with Chris Harrison from Carnegie Mellon University. The Electrostatic Vibration prototype enclosure design is by Mark Baskinger and Jason May, CMU School of Design.


Email: drinfo [at] disneyresearch [dot] com


Electrostatic Vibration provides tactile sensations using electrovibration, and does not require any mechanical motion.

Electrostatic Vibration provides a wide range of sensations by modifying the friction of touch-surfaces.

Electrostatic Vibration can provide tactile feedback when interacting with two hands

Electrostatic Vibration can simulate the feel of various textures

The user can experience textures of objects that can not be touched

Electrostatic Vibration provides tactile feedback while browsing photos.

Files provide information through texture while manipulating them, such as size or type

The user can feel the texture of paint under his fingers

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