Imagine a button that looks and feels like a button – even on a touch screen. It’s a reality with the Reflex HIC Slide Actuator from Artificial Muscle, a Bayer MaterialScience LLC company. AMI’s Reflex technology solves a common deficiency – the disappearance of the sensation of touching – that has resulted from the emergence of touch screens in consumer electronic devices.
“Reflex technology re-creates the real feel of mechanical components, such as buttons, that is often absent from hand-held devices that use touch screens,” said Marcus Rosenthal, director, Strategic Alliances, AMI. “The technology provides users with a full-sensory awareness, delivering a more complete and fulfilling experience.”
At a time when the market is looking for higher fidelity/higher definition haptic technology that is capable of creating realistic touch experiences, Reflex technology provides a stronger feel, thinner form factors and enhanced customization. Additionally, the Reflex technology offers easy integration with the device and low energy consumption, Rosenthal explained.
The Reflex HIC Slide Actuator is designed to mount to the back of a display and/or touch sensor and provides direct haptic feedback to the finger for touch devices. The technology enhances user experience of mobile devices by synchronizing haptic feedback with the sight and sound of applications used in mobile devices. The Reflex HIC Slide Actuator’s wide frequency range and rapid response time (5 milliseconds) allows for unlimited combinations of touch sensations.
The Reflex HIC Slide Actuator uses Electroactive Polymer Artificial MuscleTM (EPAM) technology, which enables strong haptic touch feedback in the preferred sensitivity spectrum with rapid response time. EPAM technology is based on an electroactive polymer comprised of a thin layer of dielectric polymer film between two conductive, compliant electrodes. When a voltage is applied across the electrodes, the electrical force causes the electrodes to attract each other, causing the film to contract and expand in thickness.
Additionally, AMI has a battery shaker design that can provide easy integration to handheld devices. The battery shaker design integrates a Reflex HIC X-Mode actuator to move a battery tray or mount in order to provide an inertial feedback that can be felt in the entire device. The battery shaker design provides the same strong, high-fidelity haptic feedback as the moving touch sensor design, but does not require the complexity of external moving parts.
“The Reflex technology supplies a missing piece of the puzzle so that users of consumer electronics have a full experience – sight, sound and now, touch,” Rosenthal said. “It can help reduce user frustration and errors while enhancing their connection to the electronic device.”