Turning Touchscreens into Feel-screens
Founded in 2006 by 36 year old Ville Mäkinen, the technology company Senseg has utilized scientific research to break down technological barriers and revolutionize the possibilities of what touchscreen software can achieve, both now and in the future.
Since its beginning, Senseg has gained funding from the Finnish government, a whole host of private investors and the support and recognition from the likes of Ambient Sound Investments, a venture fund set up by the founding engineers of Skype.
This, along with the momentum created by its inclusion in Time Magazine’s 50 Best Inventions 2011, Entrepreneur Magazine’s 100 Brilliant Companies and the Red Herring Top 100 Europe Award in 2012, has transformed Senseg from a modest start-up company into an industry heavyweight in leading Haptic technology.
So what does Senseg do?
Founder Mäkinen puts it simply, “we bring touchscreens alive.” Senseg’s technology, E-Sense, does for touchscreens what 3-D technology has done for cinema. E-Sense enables the user to literally feel contours, edges and ridges in the virtual world by creating a sensual perception of physical textures.
By manipulating the electrostatic field, Vice-President David Rice tells us that Senseg are “turning touchscreens into feel-screens with technological advancements that will revolutionize user experience, especially in tablet gaming. Senseg’s aim is to grant depth and colour to the virtual world.” With a touchscreen, we are able to view contours, shapes and textures but with Senseg, we will feel them too.
So how does it work?
During his PHD in Cognitive Science (the exploration into signal processing and the body’s interaction with electric fields), Mäkinen thought up the idea for Senseg’s E-Sense technology. The technology uses the Coulomb force which we will all have experienced in our everyday lives.
This force dictates the attraction or repulsion of particles or objects due to their electric charge, a simple example of which is the applied friction of a balloon against one’s head which causes it to stay there.
‘The Coulomb force,” explains Mäkinen, “pulls the finger towards the surface,” the electric charge in the layers of the device is manipulated to oppose a separate charge in the finger tissue which creates a field force between the two. This field force enables tactile feedback technology, applying forces, vibrations and motions to the user.
So what is next?
Senseg’s technology is due to be built into touchscreen devices in the next 12 months and be on the market in 24 months. They have already built a selection of working, tried and tested prototypes which prove E-Sense technology is both energy efficient and affordable, using less than 5% battery power and adding less than 10% to the cost of a tablet device already on the market.
It is not clear exactly what to expect when Senseg hits the market, but when they do, one thing is for certain it will change our digital experience forever.
To learn more about Senseg and the company’s technological advances check out its website HERE.
by Miranda Blazeby