Flexible, scalable tactile displays

An announcement of mechanotactile displays you can wear like a Band-Aid. The potential for clothing and contoured surfaces is massive. Reading the article the first time through I thought the display used electrical skin stimulation, but looking again I noticed this:

The display can convey information to the wearer when the electrodes induce a voltage across the films. A voltage causes the films to compress down and expand outward. In doing so, the films put pressure on the wearer’s skin, inducing a “mild sensation.”

I wonder how “mild” they’re talking about. The sensations that a tactile display can deliver has a lot to do with the depth of the sensory organs it can reach. From the press release I’m guessing the stimulator doesn’t displace all that much skin, meaning it can do tactile notifications and maybe even Braille, but not vibration or edge display. For the details we’ll have to wait for the next IEEE Transactions on Robotics.

(via Engadget)

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