France startup Hap2U will reveal what it claims is the first haptic mobile phone at next month’s CES 2020, the largest technology show in the world.
The company said it is already in talks with smartphone manufacturers in the U.S. and South Korea to offer the technology for the future smartphone market that ships more than 350 million units each quarter worldwide.
Haptic feedback technology gives a sense of touch to devices such as a computer or other machines and gadgets. The technology allows users to experience touch by applying forces, vibrations and motions to these devices.
Hap2U’s technology uses piezoelectric sensors that are integrated under a touchscreen with electronic chips to control them. The technology then diversifies touch sensations such as soft nicks, buttons, elasticity and other kinds of textures so each application can be personalized.
The company has filed new patents in order to refine the haptic technology to a thin layer — reducing the piezoelectric layer from 1.5 mm to just 2 microns of material. The company said this will allow it to be embedded into the next generation of smartphone screens so users can feel photos on Instagram or the texture of a sweater in an online store or feel letters on a keyboard.
Hap2U is working on numerous types of haptic feedback including multi-touch where multiple fingers can be on the screen simultaneously and receive corresponding haptic feedback from each section. The company also is developing multi-surface haptic technology for materials such as wood, glass, metal and plastic
CES 2020 takes place in Las Vegas from Jan. 7-10.