The slick touchscreens of our iPhones and Droids are visually magnificent and the epitome of tech chic, but their slick, untextured glass screens don't resonate with humans' tactile nature (that's why some people just can't kick the hardware button keyboard). Good tactile touchscreens – screens that impart a feeling of touch or texture in sync with a displayed image – have thus far eluded device makers. A new Microsoft project could change all that.
It's one thing to tell someone how you feel, but seeing is believing. So their inability to see the face and body language of other people can potentially leave visually impaired people working with a communication deficit. A novel thesis project at Umeå University in Sweden has created a sort of Braille codification for emotions using a tactile display and a Web cam to allow blind people to "see" emotion as they are displayed on a subject's face.