TeslaTouch: Electrovibration for Touch Surfaces


Olivier Bau (Disney Research Pittsburgh)
Ivan Poupyrev (Disney Research Pittsburgh)
Ali Israr (Disney Research Pittsburgh)
Chris Harrison (Carnegie Mellon University)

ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (ACM UIST) 2010

October 3, 2010


TeslaTouch uses electrovibration to control electrostatic friction between a touch surface and the user’s finger.


We present a new technology for enhancing touch interfaces with tactile feedback. The proposed technology is based on the electrovibration principle, does not use any moving parts and provides a wide range of tactile feedback sensations to fingers moving across a touch surface. When combined with an interactive display and touch input, it enables the design of a wide variety of interfaces that allow the user to feel virtual elements through touch. We present the principles of operation and an implementation of the technology. We also report the results of three controlled psychophysical experiments and a subjective user evaluation that describe and characterize users’ perception of this technology. We conclude with an exploration of the design space of tactile touch screens using two comparable setups, one based on electrovibration and another on mechanical vibrotactile actuation.

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