Microsoft has unveiled a hi-tech touchscreen which displays 3D images that can be touched and manipulated through tactile feedback.
The American tech giant developed the pioneering screen by augmenting a traditional LCD screen with force sensors and a robotic arm which can shunt the screen back and forth.
This allows people to interact with the display by controlling the level of resistance applied to a person’s fingertip, allowing inbuilt software to simulate the shape and weight of displayed objects on the fly.
A light force pushing back from the screen allows accurate control to be maintained thanks to the in-built robotic arm which shifts its position in sync with the hand movements and subtly shifting graphics.
Using such techniques the relative weights of stone or sponge objects can be imparted along with the contours of a virtual cup or ball.
Senior researcher Michael Pahud, said: “As your finger pushes on the touchscreen and the senses merge with stereo vision, if we do the convergence correctly and update the visuals constantly so that they correspond to your finger's depth perception, this is enough for your brain to accept the virtual world as real.”
Developed by Microsoft’s research unit it is envisioned that the tech could one day find itself in use by doctors conducting body scans or gamers exploring virtual environments.