Apple working on a touchscreen keyboard you can feel

Apple could introduce new haptic display feedback technology that will make the virtual keyboards on its devices’ touchscreens feel more real.

In a patent application spotted by Patently Apple, Apple describes a “static pattern electrostatic haptic electrode” that will use different voltages to “produce variable friction between a conductive object and the insulating material as the conductive object moves across the insulating material”.

The technology will use haptic motors under the display that create electrostatic charges for each key.

The “keys” would create varying levels of electrostatic charges, depending on the level of pressure placed on the virtual buttons.

These charges would be conducted by the user’s fingers, giving the keys a feeling of texture, shape and friction, as well as mimicking a mechanism with physical resistance, making the keyboard feel mechanical.

According to Patently Apple, the addition of different levels of “friction” and simulated shape could allow users to find buttons on the keyboard in a similar way to how we move our fingers across computer keyboards without having to look at them.

However, it is important to note that a patent application does not necessarily indicate that Apple will make use of the technology.

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