iPhone could simulate the feel of real buttons

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Epicurus, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. Epicurus macrumors 6502

    Epicurus

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #1
    If you pick up the recent Popular Science issue you'll find an article about the Samsung SCH-W559 and its "Haptic" feedback system. The idea basically is to use the motor from the phone's vibrate ring setting to give the user a little feedback everytime a touchscreen button is pressed. Even though the motor is located in a fixed position, the brain will interpret the motion as being located under the button being pressed, so it all should feel natural.

    Now when I first saw the iPhone, I was curious about the lack of mention of the vibrate setting, especially with all the focus on the accelerometer and the rotation sensors. Thinking back to the way the PS3's six-axis controller dropped its force-feedback due to "trouble with the motion sensors", I figured either Apple had hit similar problems, or the vibrate feature was too mundane to warrant mention in the keynote. Now I'm optimistic that this sort of haptic feedback might be put into use either in the Rev.A iPhone (a hidden feature to be revealed on launch day) or in a Rev.B update. Jobs may not want any more physical buttons on the iPhone than are absolutely necessary, but I still appreciate the physical feedback they provide. It might even make typing on the iPhone more bearable/faster.

    At the very least its a cool feature worth speculating about (this has come up before in at adaptive path and a KDE developers site)...:D
     
  2. vga4life macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #2
    This is fine from an aesthetic perspective, but it's not going to help your fingers find the right on-screen button without looking at them. There's no substitute for physical buttons in that regard. I don't think this would improve typing speed any more than key-click sounds.
     
  3. Epicurus thread starter macrumors 6502

    Epicurus

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #3
    I can't say for certain, but after digging a little more into the Samsung version, it appears that the redesigned vibrate motor allows a much wider range of vibration modes. Dragging your finger across several buttons could initiate the motor to go through a range of reactions, highlighting the point where your finger transitions from one key to the next. Of course, if dragging your finger like that is also pressing down several incorrect keys, it defeats the purpose, so I see your point. What gets my interest is that the move from physical keys to flat, plastic touchscreen isn't as abrupt as I might have feared. There is still the possibility of tactile feedback (aesthetic though it might be).

    Its gotten me thinking about how a smart feedback system like this might be equally as revolutionary as the multi-touch system, if properly handled. If Apple does get their hands on the technology, I'm very optimistic.
     
  4. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603

    MacBoobsPro

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    Jan 10, 2006
  5. WillJS macrumors 65816

    WillJS

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    Jan 6, 2007
    #5
    I heard something like (similar) this on the Podcast MacBreak recently. Cool, I think. :cool:
     
  6. Fourbin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2004
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #6
    The Wiimote does this, when you mouse over certain buttons on screen it vibrates a bit to let you know that you are on something that can actively be used.

    It still won't help with typing without looking. I can pretty much type at normal speed on my Treo without ever looking at the keyboard.
     
  7. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland.
    #7
    Yeah, I was thinking of the Wii too. But for the iPhone to work in a similar manner, you'd have to be able to glide your finger across the keyboard, and when your finger crosses onto a new button the phone would vibate. That would require some kind of pressure-sensitivity which I doubt the iPhone's screen has.
     
  8. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #8
    Bang & Olufsen's been doing that since 1998 except instead of using a motor & mass like most mobiles, they use a little speaker underneath a click-wheel which gives out a semi-low frequency 'click' (quite different to the iPod), which your brain interprets as resistance in the wheel.

    It works quite well :rolleyes:
     
  9. buymeaniphone macrumors 6502

    buymeaniphone

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    #9
    I did read the Poplular Science article, and from what i noticed the Samsung phone was a bit thicker than the iPhone. Would the components needed to create the push button sensation be able to fit in the 11.3 mm iphone?

    I think the idea behind the touch sensitivity for buttons is really good, but I'm wondering how it would make the typing experience any easier.
     
  10. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland.
    #10
    Didn't Apple submit a patent some time ago concerning detecting a finger hovering just over a touch sensitive panel? If so, that would be very useful for an application such as this.

    As your finger hovers over the on-screen keypad, the iPhone could click as you move from button to button. It could even call out which key you're hovering over if need be.
     

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