Last updated

A tactile pixel or tixel is the smallest measuring/transmitting element of a tactile matrix. Is a part of haptic technologies.


Design of a tactile pixel consists of a switching transistor and a resistive touch sensor. The electrical connection to the transistors is provided through high-resolution vias. [1]

Tactile matrix

Tactile matrix is a machine-readable system, which provides reading information from its surface, and then later transmitting it to a receiver (exoskeleton interface, tactile capturing software etc.).

Types of tactile pixels

Temperature tactile pixels - transmit the effect of temperature on the receiver. When transmitting a matrix of proportional temperature sensors (tactile temperature matrix) is used.

Pressure tactile pixels (pressure capturing tixels) - transmit the level of pressure on the receiver. When transmitting a force sensor matrix is used.[ citation needed ]

When a pressure capturing pixel is being used in a exoskeleton-type technology where a signal is being transmitted on a human skin, tactile pixel provides a “feeling of gliding over material” (in case if the delay between transmitting signals isn’t longer than an average human brain frequency of receiving information from the outer source).

Images in the shape of a dolphin generated by the temperature sensitive matrix. Temperature sensitive tactile matrix.png
Images in the shape of a dolphin generated by the temperature sensitive matrix.

Usages of tactile pixels

Tactile sensor sheet tightly conforming to a model of the human upper jaw. Tactile sensor sheet on a humans jaw.png
Tactile sensor sheet tightly conforming to a model of the human upper jaw.

Tactile pixels have a wide range of possible usages. As for right now most common fields for them are VR/AR studies (simulating surfaces for gaming) and medicine (laparoscopy, supporting system for blind people). But as it’s a fairly new study, those examples of course do not cover the full potential of this technology.


In 2011 Swedish company Senseg announced their new technology E-sense. [3] E-sense was supposed to be ready to recreate the feeling of wide range of textures on haptic devices. It used to generate an electric field several millimeters above a devices surface.

The company planned to use tixel technology in a mobile phone production, to more accurately replicate the feeling of a real keyboard and so on. The company also stated that it has the potential to develop in video game industry. As it will make possible to develop games based on feel rather than visuals.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Keyboard technology</span> Hardware technology of keyboards

The technology of computer keyboards includes many elements. Many different keyboard technologies have been developed for consumer demands and optimized for industrial applications. The standard full-size (100%) computer alphanumeric keyboard typically uses 101 to 105 keys; keyboards integrated in laptop computers are typically less comprehensive.

Instrumentation is a collective term for measuring instruments, used for indicating, measuring, and recording physical quantities. It is also a field of study about the art and science about making measurement instruments, involving the related areas of metrology, automation, and control theory. The term has its origins in the art and science of scientific instrument-making.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Graphics tablet</span> Computer input device

A graphics tablet is a computer input device that enables a user to hand-draw images, animations and graphics, with a special pen-like stylus, similar to the way a person draws images with a pencil and paper. These tablets may also be used to capture data or handwritten signatures. It can also be used to trace an image from a piece of paper that is taped or otherwise secured to the tablet surface. Capturing data in this way, by tracing or entering the corners of linear polylines or shapes, is called digitizing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sensor</span> Converter that measures a physical quantity and converts it into a signal

A sensor is a device that produces an output signal for the purpose of detecting a physical phenomenon.

A transducer is a device that converts energy from one form to another. Usually a transducer converts a signal in one form of energy to a signal in another. Transducers are often employed at the boundaries of automation, measurement, and control systems, where electrical signals are converted to and from other physical quantities. The process of converting one form of energy to another is known as transduction.

Haptic technology is technology that can create an experience of touch by applying forces, vibrations, or motions to the user. These technologies can be used to create virtual objects in a computer simulation, to control virtual objects, and to enhance remote control of machines and devices (telerobotics). Haptic devices may incorporate tactile sensors that measure forces exerted by the user on the interface. The word haptic, from the Greek: ἁπτικός (haptikos), means "tactile, pertaining to the sense of touch". Simple haptic devices are common in the form of game controllers, joysticks, and steering wheels.

An output device is any piece of computer hardware that converts information or data into a human-perceptible form or, historically, into a physical machine-readable form for use with other non-computerized equipment. It can be text, graphics, tactile, audio, or video. Examples include monitors, printers, speakers, headphones, projectors, GPS devices, optical mark readers, and braille readers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Electronic component</span> Discrete device in an electronic system

An electronic component is any basic discrete electronic device or physical entity part of an electronic system used to affect electrons or their associated fields. Electronic components are mostly industrial products, available in a singular form and are not to be confused with electrical elements, which are conceptual abstractions representing idealized electronic components and elements. A datasheet for an electronic component is a technical document that provides detailed information about the component's specifications, characteristics, and performance.

Sensory substitution is a change of the characteristics of one sensory modality into stimuli of another sensory modality.

Tactile graphics, including tactile pictures, tactile diagrams, tactile maps, and tactile graphs, are images that use raised surfaces so that a visually impaired person can feel them. They are used to convey non-textual information such as maps, paintings, graphs and diagrams.

A tactile transducer or "bass shaker" is a device which is made on the principle that low bass frequencies can be felt as well as heard. They can be compared with a common loudspeaker, just that the diaphragm is missing. Instead, another object is used as a diaphragm. A shaker transmits low-frequency vibrations into various surfaces so that they can be felt by people. This is called tactile sound. Tactile transducers may augment or in some cases substitute for a subwoofer. One benefit of tactile transducers is they produce little or no noise, if properly installed, as compared with a subwoofer speaker enclosure.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Active-pixel sensor</span> Image sensor, consisting of an integrated circuit

An active-pixel sensor (APS) is an image sensor, which was invented by Peter J.W. Noble in 1968, where each pixel sensor unit cell has a photodetector and one or more active transistors. In a metal–oxide–semiconductor (MOS) active-pixel sensor, MOS field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) are used as amplifiers. There are different types of APS, including the early NMOS APS and the now much more common complementary MOS (CMOS) APS, also known as the CMOS sensor. CMOS sensors are used in digital camera technologies such as cell phone cameras, web cameras, most modern digital pocket cameras, most digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs), mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras (MILCs), and lensless imaging for cells.

Haptic perception means literally the ability "to grasp something". Perception in this case is achieved through the active exploration of surfaces and objects by a moving subject, as opposed to passive contact by a static subject during tactile perception.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tactile sensor</span>

A tactile sensor is a device that measures information arising from physical interaction with its environment. Tactile sensors are generally modeled after the biological sense of cutaneous touch which is capable of detecting stimuli resulting from mechanical stimulation, temperature, and pain. Tactile sensors are used in robotics, computer hardware and security systems. A common application of tactile sensors is in touchscreen devices on mobile phones and computing.

Affective haptics is the emerging area of research which focuses on the study and design of devices and systems that can elicit, enhance, or influence the emotional state of a human by means of sense of touch. The research field is originated with the Dzmitry Tsetserukou and Alena Neviarouskaya papers on affective haptics and real-time communication system with rich emotional and haptic channels. Driven by the motivation to enhance social interactivity and emotionally immersive experience of users of real-time messaging, virtual, augmented realities, the idea of reinforcing (intensifying) own feelings and reproducing (simulating) the emotions felt by the partner was proposed. Four basic haptic (tactile) channels governing our emotions can be distinguished:

  1. physiological changes
  2. physical stimulation
  3. social touch
  4. emotional haptic design.

Robotic sensing is a subarea of robotics science intended to provide sensing capabilities to robots. Robotic sensing provides robots with the ability to sense their environments and is typically used as feedback to enable robots to adjust their behavior based on sensed input. Robot sensing includes the ability to see, touch, hear and move and associated algorithms to process and make use of environmental feedback and sensory data. Robot sensing is important in applications such as vehicular automation, robotic prosthetics, and for industrial, medical, entertainment and educational robots.

A haptic suit is a wearable device that provides haptic feedback to the body.

Electronic skin refers to flexible, stretchable and self-healing electronics that are able to mimic functionalities of human or animal skin. The broad class of materials often contain sensing abilities that are intended to reproduce the capabilities of human skin to respond to environmental factors such as changes in heat and pressure.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Force Touch</span> Force-sensing touch technology developed by Apple Inc.

Force Touch is a haptic technology developed by Apple Inc. that enables trackpads and touchscreens to distinguish between various levels of force being applied to their surfaces. It uses pressure sensors to add another method of input to Apple's devices. The technology was first unveiled on September 9, 2014, during the introduction of Apple Watch. Starting with the Apple Watch, Force Touch has been incorporated into many products within Apple's lineup. This notably includes MacBooks and the Magic Trackpad 2. The technology is known as 3D Touch on the iPhone models. The technology brings usability enhancements to the software by offering a third dimension to accept input. Accessing shortcuts, previewing details, drawing art and system wide features enable users to additionally interact with the displayed content by applying force on the input surface.


  1. 1 2 Kaltenbrunner, Martin; Sekitani, Tsuyoshi; Reeder, Jonathan; Yokota, Tomoyuki; Kuribara, Kazunori; Tokuhara, Takeyoshi; Drack, Michael; Schwödiauer, Reinhard; Graz, Ingrid; Bauer-Gogonea, Simona; Bauer, Siegfried (July 2013). "An ultra-lightweight design for imperceptible plastic electronics". Nature. 499 (7459): 458–463. Bibcode:2013Natur.499..458K. doi:10.1038/nature12314. ISSN   0028-0836. PMID   23887430. S2CID   2657929.
  2. Paschew, Georgi; Richter, Andreas (2010-03-25). "High-resolution tactile display operated by an integrated 'Smart Hydrogel' actuator array". In Bar-Cohen, Yoseph (ed.). Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2010. Vol. 7642. San Diego, California, USA. pp. 856–863. doi:10.1117/12.848811. S2CID   121262243.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  3. Bryant, Martin (2011-07-08). "Tactile pixels let you 'feel' textures on touchscreens". Plugged | The Next Web. Retrieved 2020-12-17.