[Electric Bungalow] To 3D or Not to Feel Apple’s 3D, That’s the Question

13 Sep

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

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Sorry Apple, but I’m not impressed with 3D Touch. By the wording alone, I’m thinking that there are sensors in the new iPhone 6s that can read bio-electric signature from a finger and measure the changes in milligauss when the fingertip connects to the screen. The further away the finger is from the surface, items can be lifted up to hover on a virtual desktop and by pushing in or double tapping, programs can be either activated or its internal content explored. That kind of holographic interface is one I will heartily welcome. But because a tactile need to feel a surface is still required by most people to navigate a smartphone, I don’t think a true 3D interface will emerge until the next decade. Your labelling of what this new feature is about is a misnomer.

How the technology works is nicely explained on Cnet and it’s basically the reverse idea of what I said.


 

As a few comments suggested, the idea has been around and implemented earlier on Android devices. I don’t see the 3D exciting since it does not offer the sensation of navigating a true three-dimensional space.

In comparison to several devices I own with touchscreens, one thing I have to note is that not all devices use the same kind of technology. Capacitive screens measure the force (the electrical resistance) of an object pressed against it and resistive screens locate the coordinates of where an object is causing two layers of conductive material (laid out in a grid pattern) to meet. Other technologies like sound and infrared laser exist but I don’t think they are used on tablets. To make capacitive screens even more complex, there are two types. On a few devices I use, I can sometimes feel the active magnetic resistance of the screen on my finger. I’ve often wondered if this can be exploited to provide sensations of a 3D surface so buttons, dials or wheel can be virtually created.

Now that’s true 3D because in a world where people depend on three of five senses to engage in this space just what the iPhone (or any other device) offers is hardly a taste of augmented integration.

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