Haptic tech: coming to cars, phones and even clothes

A new generation of haptic feedback technology will allow us to "feel" goods in an online store and respond to alerts in our cars and on our tablet computers.

Haptic feedback technology has been around a long time.

It's the vibration that tells you your cell phone is ringing.

It's the rumble your PlayStation controller emits when you sack Brett Favre in Madden NFL 10.

But haptic tech can be far more nuanced, and a new feature in Bloomberg Businessweek explains how the technology may end up in your car, phone, retail store and more, thanks to new advancements that make it easier to implement on a range of surfaces.

In the report, Ashlee Vance writes that a thin coating can give "just about any surface" electrostatic properties, from a computer tablet touchscreen to casino games to the dashboard of your car.

He writes:

A Helsinki-based startup named Senseg is developing technology that will let users feel textures on the screen. During a demonstration, the textures were discernible but faint. Senseg executives say that future versions will let people shopping online actually sense the ridges of corduroy pants or the soft feel of a flannel shirt.

Silicon Valley startups Tactus and Pacinian are also researching the technology in a race to deploy it to the masses.

That subtlety, not yet seen before with haptics, is an exciting wrinkle (no pun intended) that may make your iPhone's vibration look downright crude in comparison.

It's "a new wave of haptics," Vance writes -- and it might just make our electronic devices more personal than ever.

Haptics Adds New Dimensions to Touchscreens [Businessweek]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com