The ability for touchscreen controls to move from two physical dimensions to three dimensions may soon be possible. Though solutions exist for enhanced tactile touchscreen interaction using vibrotactile devices, no definitive commercial solution yet exists for providing real, physical shape to the virtual buttons on a touchscreen display. Of the many next steps in interface technology, this paper concentrates on the path leading to tangible, dynamic, touchscreen surfaces. An experiment was performed that explores the usage differences between a flat surface touchscreen and one augmented with raised surface controls. The results were mixed. The combination of tactile-visual modalities had a negative effect on task completion time when visual attention was focused on a single task (single target task time increased by 8% and the serial target task time increased by 6%). On the other hand, the dual modality had a positive effect on error rate when visual attention was divided between two tasks (the serial target error rate decreased by 50%). In addition to the experiment, this study also investigated the feasibility of creating a dynamic, three dimensional, tangible touchscreen. A new interface solution may be possible by inverting the traditional touchscreen architecture and integrating emerging technologies such as organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays and electrorheological fluid based tactile pins.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Touch screens; Computer input-output equipment
Department, Program, or Center
Industrial and Systems Engineering (KGCOE)
DeWitte, Anne, "Investigation of dynamic three-dimensional tangible touchscreens: Usability and feasibility" (2008). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus