DoCoMo Shows 3D Display With Force Feedback

Japanese mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo showed a glasses-free 3D display at Ceatec this week that also creates force feedback for the user. Users interact with the screen using a stylus and magnets generate the tactile response.

"At the point of the pen a magnet is embedded and then a coil is embedded behind the display," said Masashi Tsuboi a researcher with NTT DoCoMo's Frontier Technology Research Group. "Electrical current is sent through the coil, generating the magnetic field and creating the force feedback."

As the pen moves around two cameras at the top of the device track the location of it. During the Ceatec demonstration of the force-feedback display an on-screen lizard stuck its tongue out toward the tip of the pen and the pen bounced off the screen.

The demonstration was a popular attraction at the convention with a steady stream of showgoers waiting about 15 minutes to try the prototype technology.

"Communication with mobile devices has typically been limited to sight and sound," said Tsuboi. "By using tactile sensation, or haptic feedback, more information can be communicated to the user."

The carrier has been working on the project for about two years, but according to Tsuboi there are no immediate commercialization plans.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

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