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July 22, 2009

Immersion unveils new touch feedback for laptops and portable devices

Combines touch feedback and remote awareness for laptops, tablets and portable devices

By CBR Staff Writer

Immersion, a developer and licensor of touch feedback technology, is going to unveil a concept that applies haptic technology to personal computer applications to offer touch feedback-enabled experiences in laptops, tablets and ultra-portable computers. The company claims that the new concept is one-of-its-kind.

The company claims in these devices, the company’s new technology combined with remote awareness enables multi-modal (sight, sound and touch) user experiences in productivity, web and collaborative applications and multi-player games.

The company will also launch a game prototype in which two players volley a pinball between two networked tablet computers. In this prototype, players can reportedly feel the action of the ball in play through haptic feedback while touching the screen and holding the computer, even when the ball is in play on the other computer.

Clent Richardson, chief executive officer of Immersion, said: “The sense of touch is fundamental to the future of user experience in digital devices, and our demonstration is another milestone in that evolution. Simply put, without haptics, touchscreen devices simply will not realise their full potential. From mobile phones to gaming devices, and now with much-anticipated laptops and other portables moving quickly to touchscreens, our haptic technology provides richer, more engaging and fulfilling experiences.”

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With Immersion’s patented TouchSense haptic technology, the company partners with manufacturers of piezo thin actuators and amplifier integrated circuits, and reportedly provides integration services to deliver small-footprint, low-power haptic effects, overcoming limitations of the thin form factor.

The technology provides the tactile feedback equivalent to standard motors while accommodating the constraints faced by designers of portable devices, claimed the company.

The company said the upcoming release of touch-enabled Windows 7 is evidence that touch-based interfaces are becoming pervasive. Immersion’s TouchSense technology has reportedly shipped in over 70 million mobile phones worldwide. The patent-pending technology demonstrated is currently under development at Immersion and is expected to soon be available to licensees.

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