Stoobalou writes "Microsoft has applied for a patent which addresses one of the major disadvantage of touch-screen devices for input: the lack of tactile feedback.
The patent, filed back in May 2009 but only published by the US Patents and Trademarks Office yesterday, is entitled "Light-induced shape-memory polymer display screen" — and spends much of its time dazzling the reader with science, detailing "a display screen having a topography-changing layer including a light-induced shape-memory polymer [which] further includes an imaging engine configured to project visible light onto the display screen, where the visible light may be modulated at a pixel level to form a display image thereon [and] further includes a topography-changing engine configured to project agitation light of an ultraviolet band towards the display screen, where the agitation light is modulated at a pixel level to selectively change a topography of the topography-changing layer."
In layman's terms, Microsoft's patent is for a special type of touch-screen display which includes a 'shape-memory' layer at its base. When activated by a special frequency of ultraviolet light, individual blocks — not-coincidentally the same size as a pixel on the display part — can be raised or lowered, lending the displayed image physical texture."
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