Marketing 7546 Trends AssessmentHaptic TechnologyWhat Does The Future Hold For Touch?Sam McDaniel                         ...
Haptic Technology                                                                                  April 10, 2012         ...
Haptic Technology                                                                                  April 10, 2012       du...
Haptic Technology                                                                                   April 10, 2012        ...
Haptic Technology                                                                                  April 10, 2012         ...
Haptic Technology                                                                                   April 10, 2012technolo...
Haptic Technology                                                                                 April 10, 2012       the...
Haptic Technology                                                                                 April 10, 2012Bibliograp...
Haptic Technology                                                                               April 10, 2012         Int...
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Haptic Technology Trend Assessment Paper


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Trend Assessment paper to accompany presentation on Haptic Technology for Digital Marketing graduate class at the University of Memphis (MKTG 7546)

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Haptic Technology Trend Assessment Paper

  1. 1. Marketing 7546 Trends AssessmentHaptic TechnologyWhat Does The Future Hold For Touch?Sam McDaniel 4/10/12
  2. 2. Haptic Technology April 10, 2012 Historical Overview Haptic technology (haptics), is a tactile feedback technology which takes advantage ofthe sense of touch by applying various motions to the user (Mashpedia - Haptic Technology).Haptics is essentially a mechanical stimulation, which has been described as “doing for the senseof touch what computer graphics does for vision” (Mashpedia - Haptic Technology). Devicesthat typically incorporate haptics will have sensors of some sort that measure forces exerted bythe user. The work haptic comes from the Greek word haptikos, which means pertaining to thesense of touch and comes from the Greek verb haptesthai, meaning to contact or to touch(Mashpedia - Haptic Technology). Modern use of the technology dates back to the 1950s with the invention of theteleoperators, which were remote controlled robotic tools that were used for things likeradioactive material removal, and were later incorporated into simulators used by pilots(Mashpedia - Haptic Technology). Haptic’s entrance into gaming occurred during the 1970swith Sega’s Moto-Cross, which was the first video game in which you felt vibrations as part ofthe game (in the game, your handlebars would vibrate when you crashed). Most often, they arefound in video game controllers, including the Xbox and Playstation rumble controllers. Recentapplications include computers and mobile devices (Mashpedia - Haptic Technology). To givean idea as to the width of the haptics industry, it is estimated that by 2012, nearly 2/3rd of allsmartphones will be shipped with some form of haptic technology (Mena, 2012). The primaryhardware associated with the technology is actuators, which provide mechanical motion inresponse to some sort of electrical stimulus (Mashpedia - Haptic Technology). While the use of haptics has been around for decades, there has been a recent push andresurgence of the technology across many industries and products, as will be discussed later.The trend is driven by the need of consumers to have a better user experience with products, aswell as partly by individuals’ need for touch sensations. The trend is evolving as haptics becomebetter and more efficient, as well as take on new iterations that continue to push the horizon foruse and feasible applications. Consumers are demand more touch and more real experiences,and the future of the trend is to meet those needs.Financial Implications While there are no direct figures related to the financial impact of haptic technology,there are a few figures related to the industry readily available. According to DisplaySearch, the global touch screen market is estimated to reach $9B by 2015, which come from twelve (12) major technology areas for the market (Senseg Unveils First Feelscreen Product, 2012). Nintendo recently disclosed that its latest iteration of the Wii will incorporate haptic technology, but the cost of building a haptic based shell will be approximately $90 per unit, with a more fully integrated shell costing significantly more (James, 2012). Immersion Corporation, which is a leading innovator in haptic technology, recently disclosed 4th quarter/FYE 2011 financials. Of total revenues of $30.6MM in 2011, royalty and licensing income related to its haptic technology accounted for $26.9MM 2
  3. 3. Haptic Technology April 10, 2012 during the year. Royalty income increase for the company by 13% during 2011 (Immersion Corporation: Will Its Haptic Technology Become Part Of Most Smartphones?, 2012). The below chart documents the Company’s royalty income since 2008 and was included in the article. Current Use Various forms of haptics are utilized in all electronics, from touch screens on phones torumble controllers to the Wii and Microsoft Kinect. The latest iterations of the technology areopening up vast new possibilities and increasingly meeting consumers’ need to touch, feel, andhave a more personal experience with their technology. I want to touch on three currentiterations of the technology. Electronic Paper E-Readers The “Magic” Touch Screen The Vibrating TattooElectronic Paper E-Readers At the end of March, LG announced they would begin production on a flexible plasticelectronic paper E-Reader for use in Europe (Toor, 2012). The E-reader would have a 6-inchhigh resolution display and have the ability to bend up to 40 degrees and resist damage fromapproximately 1.5 meters, which is close to the average height a person reads from whenwalking (Toor, 2012). The innovation was derived from E-Book users’ desire to have a moredurable product, which LG is now delivering. There is also added benefit, as the thinner productalso is a better consumer of energy. While this is not along the lines of traditional haptics, theneed for flexibility and more real-like experience while reading from electronic devices has beenthe driver of this innovation. 3
  4. 4. Haptic Technology April 10, 2012 I think this innovation falls a bit short. While the current use is tremendous forconsumers, LG could have taken this one step further. One suggestion would be to use thetechnology to make a true blend of the existing products, where the E-Reader is made from theplastic product and has total internet connectivity and storage, but is much more flexible andbendable to fit in smaller places and be much more user friendly. Another idea LG could havetaken was to take the E-Paper product, provide wi-fi connectivity, and created a blank book withpages, which would change based on the download. This would provide a real book experiencealong with the ability to download new books and minimize the physical space associated with aperson’s library. I see the uses of this to dramatically change going forward.The “Magic” Touch Screen The “magic” touch screen was rumored to be in the new iPad 3, which was announcedduring the first quarter of 2012 (Rose, 2012). Designed by Senseg, Inc., the feelscreen productproduces tactile sensations for touch interface devices. With the feelscreen, users will be able tofeel textures, contours, edges, and other things like peaks and valleys all from their screen. Thetechnology creates layers of “tixels”, texture pixels, that allow for control over the feel of thescreen (Rose, 2012). According to the article, the real innovation of the system is to its hapticsapproach, which uses electrostatic attraction to modulate the friction between fingers andsurface, unlike the moving parts typically found in other haptic models (Rose, 2012). I think the possibilities are endless for the integration and uses of the “magic” screen.With Apple working closely with Senseg, this could lead to a real “game-changer” in tablets, asApple likely will lock up Senseg into some sort of exclusivity contract along the way and gain aneven bigger competitive advantage with the iPad. Going one step further, this technology wouldtremendously open up the gaming world, as you could see developers, etc. incorporating thisnew technology and making the gaming experience much more realistic. I think this technologywould have immediate impact in several commercial uses (medical, real estate, etc.), and couldhave been introduced in those arenas first. Overall, I think this current example of haptictechnology will further advance people’s desire to feel and touch.The Vibrating Tattoo In March 2012, Nokia announced that a patent had been filed for a vibrating tattoo. Thepremise for the vibrating tattoo is similar to Bluetooth in that the tattoo would be connected andwould talk with your cell phone. The similarities stop there, as haptic technology is the keyelement to this patent. Using ferromagnetic ink, the tattoo will be created and will be highlymagnetized (Bobleanta, 2012). For knowledge purposes, ferromagnetic ink is a heavier, morecharged type ink relative to traditional tattoo inks. After charging the tattoo, the tattoo willvibrate differently based on the notifications from your phone (Bobleanta, 2012). Whether thenotification is a call, text, email, or low battery warning, there will be individual, recognizablevibrations from the tattoo. From a business standpoint, the tattoo would allow users to recognizea call, etc. in either a quiet setting, meeting, or noisy function, which could lead to improvedefficiency over the long term. This tattoo would be one step above tattoos that use red ink,which are heavily concentrated with iron and react to magnets (Bobleanta, 2012). 4
  5. 5. Haptic Technology April 10, 2012 Sodahead, an online news outlet, conducted a survey to get peoples’ thoughts on the newtechnology (PUBLIC OPINION > Theres No Need for Vibrating Tattoos, 2012). Anoverwhelming 78% of respondents felt the vibrating tattoo technology was “too wacky”. I fallinto the 78%. Youth under the age of 18 and atheists were the most receptive to the technology,with 41% of youth and 50% of atheists saying it was wonderful. All other groups surveyedoverwhelmingly said the technology was wacky (PUBLIC OPINION > Theres No Need forVibrating Tattoos, 2012). To me, this technology is redundant: I don’t need a tattoo to vibrate inorder to tell me something my phone has already indicated. Not only does it seem redundant tome, I don’t think it will catch on commercially with this iteration. The tattoo will have to do alot more than vibrate, or will have to be integrated with other platforms before the technologywould catch on. I don’t think Nokia did anything wrong with the announcement, but there is stilla great deal of stumble room for Nokia and other adopters going forward. One other additionalproblem worth mentioning relates to MRI machines, which rely on magnets to generate images.Any person going through an MRI with the vibrating tattoo could be susceptible to burning,irritation, or other bodily harm as the magnetic nature of the tattoo would react with the magnetsin the MRI machine (Melina, 2010). Future Uses The future of haptic technology is one of endless possibility and opportunity. I thinkfuture haptic applications will be integrated and incorporated across several businesses andindustries. In my opinion, below is a couple of example in which haptics would be utilized in thefuture. My first example relates to the medical field. Currently, a surgeon has to be in the sameroom as the patient in order to perform any type of surgery, from tonsil removal to triple bypassheart surgery. The surgeon could work remotely from any location, which would not onlyincrease the availability of surgeries, but also increase the availability of expert specialtysurgeons as needed. While the procedures would be performed with robots in the room and thesurgeon operating via internet or other system, the surgeon would use haptic technology. Via atouch screen (similar to the “magic” screen discussed earlier), the surgeon would be able to feelevery muscle and ligament in the patient’s body. The surgeon could feel all incisions and skinmovement as if they were in the same room. The one downside would the inability to see the realorgans or correct any major malfunction along the way. The correction for this could be easy, asthe screen would show a live feed of the surgery and any malfunctions could be fixed by asurgeon on the ground. The primary difference between this and the current usage of robotics insurgery would be the ability to feel and touch while in the remote location, instead of just goingthrough the motions and letting the robots do the work. My next example would incorporate Near Field Communication (NFC) (discussed inprevious trend assignment by classmate) and haptics. Let me take you beyond the vibratingtattoo. What if, in the future, there was a combination of the two? The current NFC technologyallows payments to be made by swiping your phone, or deals/coupons to pop up on your phoneas you walk past a section of town or a particular store. Now let’s incorporate haptics. Fordiscussion purposes, let’s say you are walking down the road. With the traditional NFC 5
  6. 6. Haptic Technology April 10, 2012technology, your cell phone would be alerted of new deals or coupons in the area, and you wouldbe able to view them after logging into a service like Foursquare. In the new scenario, yourphone would still be alerted by NFC as you passed a deal or coupon, but the image of the couponor deal would be projected from the store in a holographic type manner. With the holograph, theindividual would be able to directly interact with the deal, including scrolling through all of thestore’s current offerings, “clipping” the coupon, and transmitting it back to the store for directuse. Once the transaction was done, the holograph could allow for further interaction with thestore, and act like a mini-portal for the company or the particular store. Interview With an Expert I interviewed Mandi Mena, who is the Director of Marketing at Immersion Corporation,which is a leading innovator in haptic technology and based in California. Here’s a laundry listof incites taken from the interview. Due to the nature of the Company, only the highlights of theinterview will be discussed (Mena, 2012). From gaming controllers to touch screens, the popularity of haptics is surging in terms of adoption and the overall evolution of device interfaces. The current tradeoff has been tactile feedback for touch screen. The ability for consumers to feel and get a response from everything they do is what drives the integration of haptics into devices. Getting feedback from dialing a number or pressing a key is very important. As users have begun to expect haptics as a standard feature on their devices (whether consciously or not), this has only increased the necessity for it in the marketplace. In today’s market, the key differentiators in products are services, applications, and user experiences. Growth for haptics will happen as product makers bring new ways of incorporating haptics into devices to increase the user experience to the forefront. In the mind of the interviewer, the attention that is being paid to haptics today validates the value proposition of the technology. The business landscape related to haptics is changing, primarily because the hardware and components used to create the sensations are rapidly improving. The vibrations and feelings felt today are quickly becoming more distinctive and realistic as time goes on, as evidenced by the entrance of High Definition haptics into the marketplace. The benefit of HD haptics is that variations to sensations can be created, which cannot be done with traditional haptic technologies. Competitive advantage for haptics is tied to how it is implemented in user interfaces. A Company will truly have a competitive advantage if they can create compelling experiences for their customers and differentiate themselves in that regard. The experience should be unique and unlike anything else available. The example given was the sound and feel of a BMW door, relative to other automakers. For designers, creating products for consumers in a specific market that feel a certain way could be the next logical step, and give a Company additional brand awareness. The interviewee feels that the long term view of the technology could lead to a similar experience among multiple devices and partnerships with things like cloud computing (e.x. a similar user experience between a person’s cell phone and their automobile). Other possibilities include the incorporation GPS, etc., which are all helped by the improvement in the technology’s hardware. We are just beginning to see an increase in haptics use in 6
  7. 7. Haptic Technology April 10, 2012 the automobile industry, with the Cadillac User Experience (touch screen interface) set to hit the market in 2013. My personal takeaways are below. I see a real need for the technology in the marketplace. In an age where consumers expect immediacy and patience has become a virtue, the marketplace for the technology is only increasing. It amazes me that we are getting to a point where all of our devices, our cars, and our house all have the ability to share information and provide the same user experience. For a company such as Apple, differentiation in the marketplace is already there, so increased utilization of haptics would only make great products better. For the lower tier companies such as Samsung or LG, redefining the user experience with haptics could have material long term benefits and allow the companies to be in the same conversation as the market leader. The potential for reach into new industries is immense. Who would have thought that cars like Cadillac’s would be in the same conversation as tablets and smartphones? Where does the next industry enter? Could we see a revolution in the way architects design buildings, or in the way athlete’s train? Conclusion While haptics have been around for many years, consumers have such a need for thetechnology that significant strides will likely be made during the coming years to make thetechnology more personable and better integrated into everything we do. The future of thetechnology looks bright, and appears to be an agent of change for the way people, businesses,and industries conduct themselves. The focus is now on differentiating through the userexperience, and evidence is leaning towards that focus not changing in the coming years. 7
  8. 8. Haptic Technology April 10, 2012BibliographyBobleanta, V. (2012, March 15). Nokia is looking into haptic tattoos to help you feel whoscalling. Retrieved April 1, 2012, from UnWired View: Corporation: Will Its Haptic Technology Become Part Of Most Smartphones? (2012,March 5). Retrieved April 4, 2012, from Seeking Alpha:, D. (2012, April 5). Nintendos E3 Show Floor Booths Revealed: Haptic Technology isComing. Retrieved April 7, 2012, from Zelda Informer: - Haptic Technology. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2012, from Mashpedia - HapticTechnology:, R. (2010, September 01). Do MRI Machines Affect Tattoos? Retrieved 3 2012, April,from Lifes Little Mysteries:, M. (2012, April 6). Marketing Director, Immersion Corporation. (S. McDaniel,Interviewer)PUBLIC OPINION > Theres No Need for Vibrating Tattoos. (2012, March 22). Retrieved April2, 2012, from SodaHead:, M. (2012, March 7). Something to touch: Haptic feedback rumor gains traction for iPad"magic" feature. Retrieved April 2, 2012, from Tuaw: Unveils First Feelscreen Product. (2012, January 10). Retrieved April 6, 2012, fromSenseg:, A. (2012, March 29). LG unveils flexible plastic e-paper display, aims for Europeanlaunch next month. Retrieved April 8, 2012, from Engadget: 8
  9. 9. Haptic Technology April 10, 2012 Interviewer’s BioMandi Mena is the Director of Marketing at Immersion and brings over 10 years experience inhigh tech marketing. Most recently, she was part of the product management team at mobilestart up Zumigo, and prior to that, she was the Sr. Manager of Product Management for carriermessaging products at Verisign (acquired by Syniverse). Mandi also served in various marketingand product management roles at Synaptics, where she was part of the team who first developedcapacitive touch interfaces for mobile devices.Mandi has a degree in Business Marketing from California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo. 9