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Sticky screen from Osaka University gives information through adhesion

Professional Engineering

The display uses a heated polymer sheet to create adhesion on the surface (Credit: Osaka University)
The display uses a heated polymer sheet to create adhesion on the surface (Credit: Osaka University)

A sticky screen might conjure thoughts of dirty train station ticket terminals or drinks spilled over smart phones, but for researchers at Osaka University it could be an important new tool for conveying information.

The team created a new 2D display which can add a sense of touch, a ‘sticky’ sensation, to parts of the screen. The researchers at the Japanese university said the technology, known as StickyTouch, could be useful for people with visual impairments if applied to a touchscreen.

“This graphical tactile system allows users to get 'touch’ and ‘feel' information that would be difficult to perceive on a visual display. We will consider applications to entertainment and digital signage to pursue its commercial viability,” said Associate Professor Yuichi Itoh.

The researchers placed a temperature-sensitive adhesive sheet on their screen. The adhesion of the polymer sheet is changed by controlling the temperature of the display surface. With a boundary temperature of 40ºC to prevent discomfort, the sheet is heated beneath and becomes sticky in specified areas.  

“With this display, users can take in both visual and tactile information, something difficult to achieve through ordinary 2D displays,” said the researchers. Users could scroll through folders and learn their capacity through their varied adhesion, or flick slowly through online pages. It could also add another sense of touch to displays for videogames, adding to haptic feedback.

The research was presented at Siggraph Asia 2019 Emerging Technologies last week, where the team won the best demonstration award from the committee.

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