Haptic Advantage

Dynamic Knobs

A button that speaks. Through its shape.
Sending a text message

should feel different than taking a picture, even if we press the same button on our phone to do both. With a force sensor and a force-exerting motor on the inside of a mobile phone, we could create phone buttons capable of so much more – almost as much as our fingers can do.

Enter the Dynamic Knob. This button can be used as a shape-based display, a pressure-sensitive input source or various combinations of the two. Consider taking a photo, a frequently performed operation on our phones. The two-step process of focusing, then pressing the shutter, could be haptically perceivable while operating the Dynamic Knob. Meanwhile, deleting a folder of pictures could be made harder to perform, as it’s a more critical and less frequently used operation. The device allows for “squeezing,” such as with a voice mail message. Users can navigate the message while holding the phone to their ear: squeezing normally to play, releasing to rewind and squeezing strongly to fast-forward.