LONDON Sony is exploring the development of a potential game-oriented touchscreen device that may also be a communicator, according to a couple of just filed U.S. patent applications.
One application shows a handheld touch device that would allow both direct and gesture-based input and which would also provide force feedback across the entire display through a system known as "tactile pixels" a grid of small bumps would lift to reach the screen and help simulate physical button presses or other effects based on touch input.
The device's functions are not explicitly noted, but the patent suggests that individual tactile pixels could serve as an alternative control mechanism to the main touchscreen.
The patent applications state that potential uses for the invention could include everything from a game device to phones, portable media players and email gadgets.
One bears the name of Phil Harrison, who, until late February, was the president of Sony Computer Entertainment and played a key role in the development and growth of the PlayStation business.
One of the patent applications notes that while "existing touch screens are configured to receive a mechanical input and provide a visible output," they "are not configured to provide both a visible and a mechanical output."
It then describes a device that provides a touch-feedback sensation upon contact with a touch screen.
The device described is not limited to a single screen, and may be used for a variety of applications, including "a gaming device, a phone, a portable media player, an email device, web browser device, or navigation device."