The five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch are essential for humans to gather information. Sight is said to account for around 80% of that information and computer interfaces rely heavily on sight and hearing.
However, haven’t there been times while shopping online that you’ve thought to yourself, “I like the design, but I wish I could feel the texture…” or while reading an e-book that you’ve thought, “The feel of turning pages and the texture of paper would bring more life to the story”? The addition of touch would undoubtedly produce a greater sense of reassurance and change your impression.
Incorporating the sense of touch would surely result in interfaces that would bring us a greater sense of reality, and we are currently engaged in such research.
By replicating the sense of touch on the display, we will be able to experience the sense of touch in addition to seeing things with our eyes. The “Touch Interface” makes that a reality. We talked to Fujitsu’s Chief Researcher Yasuhiro Endo, who is actually engaged in this research, about the technology involved and what he hopes to accomplish in the future.
The concept of applying as-yet unused senses to interfaces is not such a rare thing in itself. The method of controlling friction using ultrasonic vibration has been widespread for some time. So why have Fujitsu researchers now been able to achieve it with tablets for the first time?
The answer to that question is that Fujitsu researchers have been thoroughly committed to interfaces since the beginning of the mobile phone era.
The Touch Interface replicates smoothness and roughness by vibrating the surface of the touch panel at high speeds and changing the frictional resistance.
When an object is vibrated at high speed, a high-pressure air film is generated between the surface of the object and the finger, and the floating effect reduces friction. By utilizing this phenomenon and vibrating the surface of the touch panel with ultrasonic waves, it is possible to create a touch sensation of lowered frictional resistance or, in other words, a slippery, smooth sensation.
When the ultrasonic vibration stops, the normal frictional resistance of the touch panel surface is instantly restored, so a sensory illusion of a bulge is created at the boundary between the smooth, low-friction area and the rough, high-friction area. By finely controlling the ultrasonic vibrations in relation to finger movement, it is possible to convey not only smoothness but also the feeling of roughness, texture and the shape of buttons to the fingertip.
Combining the sense of touch with visual display makes it possible to create a user experience where, for example, sand on the display actually feels grainy, turning the dial on a safe feels like it’s really clicking and a waxed floor feels smooth.
The Touch Interface has the potential to create a new user experience by providing a touch sensation in addition to sight and hearing.
If buttons operated by the user feel like they stick out, it will allow the user to determine the position of the buttons just by touching them and to distinguish between different buttons. This will undoubtedly prove useful for users with sight limitations when they use touch panels. By providing the sensation of clicking when using sliders and dials, the user can move them the right amount without staring at the controls.
What are the possibilities if a more realistic touch sensation can be achieved in the future?
Say you’re shopping for a shirt online. You check the soft feel of organic cotton, the store’s recommendation, by touching the display with your fingertips. Maybe you like the feel, but you think it’s a little pricey, so you decide to check the feel of the polyester blend shirt, too. This would provide a realistic shopping experience, making it feel like you are actually in the store.
You can see and feel this tablet prototype at the Fujitsu Forum in Tokyo!
Augmented reality (AR), which shows actual information, such as images, by superimposing ICT information, such as pictures and letters, is already being used in, for example, the entertainment industry or marketing.
Here at Fujitsu Forum we are demonstrating how AR is used to carry out business by sharing information with office staff members, displaying work instructions superimposed on actual articles, visualizing the task histories and matters exchanged by people in charge, and completing tasks in the field by entering information. Fujitsu supports customers in changing their work styles based on the technical knowledge that we have accumulated via practical work both inside and outside the company and by using smart devices and AR to do business.
First held in 1993 Fujitsu Forum Tokyo is Fujitsu’s largest private customer event. In 2014 Fujitsu Forum will be celebrating 21 years and in this time the event has expanded globally and now hosts forums in Europe (Germany) and China.
Fujitsu Forum Tokyo will be held between 14th-16th May 2014 at the Tokyo International Forum in Japan. We expect 12,000 IT decision-makers and experts from around the world to attend and it will feature a variety of seminars and demonstrations for new initiatives across all industries in which ICT is used.
So whether you’re attending our event in Tokyo in person or following it online, here are all the necessary tools
Main event hashtag: #FujitsuForum
Time & Date: 10 am – 6 pm on Thursday, May 15 and Friday, May 16, 2014
Location: Tokyo International Forum, 3-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Keynote Speech / Exhibition: Slideshare
Coverage from Fujitsu channels:
Looking forward to connecting with everyone at the #FujitsuForum!
The German Data Center Award was hard-fought once again. Many companies submitted their most innovative ideas to gain attention and success. Fujitsu participated in the competition and – hope you remember our success in 2013 with Fujitsu Energy Management in the Data Center – was shortlisted amongst the finalists in 2014!
Fujitsu participated with “Fujitsu Data Center Management & Automation – Automated Contingency Manual” in the data center software category and came in closely after GORDIS GmbH and VMware.
This rank in the German Data Center Award rewards our ideas and efforts in the field of Data Center Management & Automation.
Want to know more about our submission to the competition? Data Center contingency manuals are required by the ITIL standard and describe processes that have to be followed and executed in emergency cases. The goal is to recover business continuity as fast as possible. In many data centers contingency manuals are printed issues. With our automation solution the processes necessary to counter emergency cases can be automated across operating system and department boundaries and in cases of emergency the processes run automatically and support the emergency managers.
Automated emergency processes avoid manual errors and increase process quality, the guarantee the adherence to escalation procedures and ensure documentation of all activities – and most importantly they accelerate human/machine interaction and allow operating data centers more efficiently, securely and at lower cost.
We have developed the “Fujitsu Data Center Management & Automation – Automated Contingency Manual” together with our partners CA Technologies and TDS for usage in heterogeneous data centers. Our solution offers the integration of operations management with sensor and measurement technologies for buildings and systems. It takes into account the current status of the IT infrastructure and process landscape while flexibly allowing stepwise enhancements to innovative automation concepts.
Find more information about the German Data Center Award in the Internet (German language)
CeBIT 2014 has opened its doors for experts and companies from all over the world and I would like to tell you briefly what has happened so far and tell you about the “hits” on the Fujitsu Stand which you should not miss.
A lot of attention before the official CeBIT start was given to our new mobile devices which visitors, journalists and bloggers have been trying out.
The Fujitsu LIFEBOOK U904 Ultrabook™ with 4G/LTE is certainly one of these mobile highlights. The thinnest Business Ultrabook in the 14“ category has been nominated as a “CeBIT Highlight Product“ and is the world’s first Ultrabook which has integrated non-contact, biometric security technology as an option: the Fujitsu Palm Vein Sensor. If you want to learn more about the LIFEBOOK U904, please follow our “Insider blog” here
Olaf Leis (Lower-Saxony State Minister for the Economy, Employment and Transport) visited us at our CeBIT stand in hall 7 on Monday evening – and the focus of his visit was our Palm Secure technology. He took a good look at the “Secure Gate“ which manages really secure access. Authentication of a person’s identity is via the non-contact recognition of the unique vein pattern in an individual’s hand.
Today the Intel Innovation Award for a new concept in data center technology was awarded. Jens-Peter Seick, Senior Vice President of the Fujitsu Product Development Group received the prize on our behalf.
And there are lots of new features for Fujitsu vShape!
The proven vShape reference architecture from Fujitsu integrates now NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP. The virtualization platform vShape is based on Fujitsu x86 PRIMERGY servers, switches from Brocade as well as NetApp Storage systems. It offers companies a shared scale-out infrastructure which is more flexible and is ideally suited to handle the almost unlimited growth in a company’s data volume.
For more pictures, please visit our Facebook page.
That is just some of the highlights on our CeBIT stand. If you want to see more, you have until Friday – we look forward to seeing you in Hall 7, A28.