Artificial Muscle ramps up production -- expect touchscreens that push back in 2011

Last we heard from Artificial Muscle, the company was trying to convince hospitals, cell phone manufacturers and more that its technology -- a silicon film that expands and contracts with an applied voltage -- would provide a real sense of touch to their cold, hard touchscreens. On at least three counts, it has succeeded. The San Jose Mercury News reports that two cell phone manufacturers are planning Artificial Muscle-based products in 2011, and that an "electronics entertainment product" will be released this Christmas. The company also plans to produce 1 million of the electronic actuators per month to anticipate further demand. While the Mercury News notes that Artificial Muscle's product isn't the holy grail of haptic feedback -- the entire screen stiffens when pressed, not just the spot you touch -- its adoption means the company may have set events in motion to ultimately reach that goal.