Phones with 'feeling' may cut typing errors

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London, Mar 25 : The technology that makes cellphones vibrate when people make a mistake while typing may help cut typing errors in touch-screen phones like the iPhone that lack the tactile feedback provided by a keyboard.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow in the UK claim that they can expel complications in touch screen phones by using actuators like those that used in cellphones to give a feeling of a keyboard.

Software called VibeTonz made by Immersion of San Jose, California, can get an actuator to move in different ways, such as smoothly or jerkily.

Corporations like - Samsung and LG, which make touch-screen phones, use this to provide rudimentary 'haptic' feedback when a button is pressed, but according to Stephen Brewster, the study's lead author, phones can do much more.

"The actuators are there, but people aren't using them in the most effective way," New Scientist quoted Brewster, as saying.

In order to create more sophisticated sensations, the research team strung together combinations of different VibeTonz.

A single pulse 30 milliseconds long gives the feeling of a button being clicked, while sliding a finger from one button to another prompts a half-second long buzz, providing a 'rough' feeling that tells the user they've strayed to another key.

Sliding the finger across a button causes the buzz to be ramped up and then down, giving the feel of a round button.

The team found that users' typing speed and accuracy were significantly closer to results they achieved using a real keyboard, compared with when the haptics were disabled.

The research will be presented at the Computer Human Interaction conference in Florence, Italy, next month.


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