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CES: World’s first haptic smartphone display

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Hap2U, a haptics developer specialised in integrating sensory intelligence into tactile surfaces, will unveil Hap2Phone,  the world’s first haptic smartphone display, at CES 2020. Hap2Phone allows users to feel and sense, for the first time, objects in photos appearing on their touchscreens.

Sensations in smartphones are currently limited to a vibration when receiving a text message or a click via vibrotactile technology. Hap2U is introducing HD texture sensations to offer new performance capabilities, potentially leading to the ability to feel the texture of, for example, clothing displayed on an online store.

One of Hap2U’s aims is to allow smartphone users to send a text message without looking, by being able to feel individual letters on the screen keyboard.

Hap2U will demonstrate a prototype Hap2Phone at booth #41958, Sands Expo (level 2), during CES 2020, Las Vegas, January 7 – 10. Hap2U is a CES 2020 Innovation Award honoree; it also garnered a CES award in 2017.

“Hap2U’s haptic smartphone touchscreen, Hap2Phone, is an outstanding achievement,” says Cédrick Chappaz, CEO of Hap2U. “We anticipate that Hap2Phone will attract strong interest from OEMs and system integrators seeking to enhance the end-user experience by improving their interaction with connected objects and machines. We believe that haptics will play a bigger role in enhancing sensory intelligence in smartphones.”

The company integrates a thin film piezoelectric solution (2 micron in thickness) under the glass cover, meaning haptics can be felt over the full screen. Once this hardware is installed, it is the role of the software to get the exact haptic feeling in the right place.

Any additional weight is marginal (<1g). The impact on display power consumption is also minimal, at roughly one per cent.

By applying a friction coefficient, Hap2U can make distinct variations in touch sensations (intense or soft nicks, springs, buttons, elasticity and all kinds of high-to-low elevation points and textures, etc.), allowing the nerve endings in fingertips to detect different sensations, then signaling the brain to interpret them.

Hap2U’s touch sensation technology is not only intended for smartphones. Its solution is compatible with all touch interfaces.

Founded in 2015, the company has pioneered developments in haptics beyond glass surfaces to include wood, metal and plastic. It has applications in the automotive industry for HMI displays, controls for manufacturing equipment and smart buildings. Daimler AG, the German multinational automotive corporation, invested €4M ($4.4M) in Hap2U in 2018 for applications in future car models.

As sales of its prototypes grow and preparations for a new fundraising round get underway, Hap2U will aim at licensing its technology to the smart home and smart buildings markets as well as the healthcare and manufacturing industries.

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