back to article Boffins pump out pop-up touchscreen

Researchers have already tried to overcome the lack of physical feedback on touchscreens by adding on vibration and sounds. But boffins at one university have developed a touchscreen display that literally sports pop-up buttons. Can't see the video? Download Flash Player from Chris Harrison and Scott Hudson at …


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  1. The Gritter

    The early adopters?

    The pr0n industry of course ;) just a little more air...

  2. Robert Hill

    So cool...

    This is such a cool device...I can just feel it...

    Mine's the one with the pins that will be used to pop and destroy this keypad once it's at all the ATMs near you...

  3. Andrew Kemp
    Thumb Down

    Not a latex-based touchscreen...

    They haven't developed the first "latex-based touchscreen" - they've developed a surface where pre-defined shapes can be raised or lowered, hardly a touchscreen. Hardly something that revolutionary either...

    They use a projector and cameras for the touchscreen functionality - same as the home made touchscreens many have done across the net.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    Taking bets on how long it takes before Apple patent exactly this technology!

  5. Joe K


    No display tech, but instead you need a projector to cast any display onto inflatable buttons?

    This isn't boffinry, this is Dim Dave from the pub coming up with a ridiculous idea that no-one will ever use.

  6. James McGregor
    Paris Hilton

    Very nice, but ...

    ... there's a few things that would need to be addressed. The button layout doesn't appear to be flexible enough to offer different numbers, sizes or types of buttons, as it's limited to the location of the inflatable areas behind the screen. For example, how would you switch between a QWERTY keyboard and a numeric keypad?

    It's also prone to vandelism - just imagine the wanton destruction an individual armed merely with a pin could inflict. One prick and it's all over, so to speak.

    Paris ... as she knows all about pricks ...

  7. Ron

    Not as good as it sounds

    This sounds really good, then you watch the video and realise it can only create buttons that are built in to the screen there is no dynamic button creation really. Its like a screen which can hide its buttons and then display them again. What would be good if it could create buttons on a generic screen of any type and size decided by the application otherwise its just as limited as having actual buttons for example at the side of a cash machine.

  8. Anonymous Hero


    ....flat panel pop-up boobies anyone.....?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Thumbs up..

    This is really cool tech.

    Adaptive shaped screens would be amazing.

  10. Jerome
    Thumb Down

    Dynamically Changeable?

    Sure as hell doesn't look like it.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The artificial muscle i read about the other day sounds much better, also it should work with existing touchscreens.

    Not quite the same admittedly but much more likely.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not Worth It, Unless the Only Reason is For Braille

    The clickable pad, like you see on the latest MacBooks from Apple, provide ample tactile feedback for sighted people.

    Only blind people, or people with applications in which their dashboard needs to be used without direct visual cues, would find this useful, as it is bound to be both expensive and less-than-robust.

    I suspect that blind people would want a denser information display, such as a braille strip, or braille keys.

    It is cool, though.

  13. Luis Ogando
    Paris Hilton


    Yes, yes, YES!!

    Can't wait for this to be available for use with those internet sites I keep visiting...

    Paris, 'cos she's definitely been pumped up a few times!!

  14. Big Bear

    It uses set shapes?

    It ain't no LCARS display is it?!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    There goes my patent

    I invented that in my head last year sometime, except it had a finer resolution and also a reader so you could push body parts against it and they'd raise at another location - all tech has a sex application screaming to get out somewhere!

  16. DPWDC

    @Andrew Kemp

    Agree with Andrew Kemp, this isn't anything special - its a projector and fixed buttons that move... You could build that with clear lego bricks!

    I'll not be trading in my REAL touchscreen any time soon!

  17. John Smith Gold badge

    re-definable tactile keys

    OK you can dump the projector for a flat screen of some kind or even pre-printed backing. But how do you get rid of the need for a compressed air supply?

    As a research tool for studying UI design and ergonomics OK. Cool toy OK. Actual usage IRl?

    Tactile feedback could be attractive in some cases but I think the ideal would be some kind of electroactive gel that expands/contracts on small voltage levels (current pulses would have to diffuse through the gel. This is unlikely to be very fast). Done fast enough the whole face of your phone buzzes when your on vibrate, eliminating the buzzer and eliminating the buzzer parts. This sort of thing gets phone mfgs quite excited.

  18. Anonymous from Mars

    Hay boffanz

    Dear Boffins,

    You forgot the 0 in your horrible prototype.


    Everyone with a 0 in their PIN.

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