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MS applies for patent on 'light-induced shape-memory,' a touchscreen that could touch back

Tim Stevens
November 29, 2010
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Touchscreens are selfish lovers, taking your gentle caresses and impatient taps without offering a hint of feedback to you. We've seen attempts to change that, like prototypes from Toshiba and Senseg that add a bit of texture to a touchable surface, but now Microsoft might be looking to bring such dynamic tactility to the one of the biggest touchable surfaces: Surface. A recent patent application entitled "Light-induced Shape-memory Polymer Display Screen" describes a technique for a display that uses infra-red light to detect touch, but also to "selectively change a topography of the topography-changing layer." In other words: to make it bumpy or smooth. Certain wavelengths of light projected on the screen can cause areas of that topography layer expand or contract, which could finally mean all our cries for attention might finally be responded to in kind.

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