Many laptop users find their built-in touchpads a necessary compromise for the sake of portability at the cost of ergonomic and functional control. Touch technology specialists Sensel is aiming to improve the situation by adding a nuanced level of control and manipulation to the humble laptop touchpad with the announcement of a new modular touch and haptic feedback solution.
“Until now, touch and haptic technologies have been designed separately, resulting in challenging integrations for manufacturers and inconsistent performance for end-customers,” says Sensel CEO and Co-founder Ilya Rosenberg. Sensel’s approach to the touchpad integrates these two existing tactile technologies with a high resolution capacitive touch grid pad merged with a “Force Field Technology” engineered to register the amount of force applied per finger and converts it into both force and shape data. A direct drive haptics system is the third and final element, providing a degree of force feedback, opening the possibility of simulating shape, texture, or response via the touchpad.
The svelte three-millimeters thick Sensel Haptic Touchpad will also support gesture controls, including two-finger scroll, two-finger pinch, and other multi-finger gestures that any mobile/tablet device user has become accustomed to using. The technology allows for more nuanced control using force detection, delivering variable scrolling speed dependent upon user force upon the pad surface. Those working in CAD/3D software can also utilize the touchpad’s multi-touch and force gestures to manipulate three dimensional models with improved precision.