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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

3D Display Could Bring Touch to Digital World

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The new shape-shifting display can sense and respond to human touch.

The prototype display is not ready for the market yet. But the researchers envision that, one day, similar technologies could lead to sensory gloves for virtual gaming or a smart conveyer belt that can undulate to sort apples from bananas.

Credit: Brian Johnson

University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) engineers have designed a three-dimensional (3D) morphing display comprised of a grid of soft robotic "muscles" that generate pop-up patterns in response to outside pressure.

The researchers arranged 100 Hydraulically Amplified Self-Healing ELectrostatic (HASEL) actuators in a grid of squares; electric current causes fluid inside the accordion-shaped actuators to shift, triggering their expansion and popup.

Former CU Boulder researcher Brian Johnson said magnetic sensors in the actuators detect pressure, allowing users to draw on the display's surface with magnetic wands.

The prototype display also operates faster than similar smart tablets, as each robot muscle can activate up to 50 times per second.

From CU Boulder Today
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