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Tactalis "tactile computer"?

While monitoring the AEBC twitter feed, I noticed a tweet from @Tactalis wondering what we 'thought' of their new tactile computer project. Basic information about the tactile computer is available on the IndieGoGo fundraising page for the project, where the company behind the initiative is working to raise $40,000 toward the project, which will be used for the first production run aimed at getting "tactile computers" into classrooms.

They describe it as follows:

Our groundbreaking platform embeds an array of switchable magnets beneath any LCD panel to instantly create tangible reproductions of images that are normally displayed only as pixels of light. In terms of both use and form factor, the Origin interface is not unlike many tablet computers. To achieve what has not been done before, users who explore content on our touchscreen while holding a metal stylus or wearing a metallic ring on their fingertip, are able to feel the force of the embedded magnetic fields emitted from the display wherever a feature of interest is located.

AMI ran a story about the tactile computers, which you can view on YouTube:

A more complete video description of some of the possibilities (from what I assume to be a venture capital conference) can also be viewed on YouTube:

I am not yet sure that I understand how this works or the value of this or how this might compare with existing tactile tablet technologies (such as the Talking Tactile Tablet).

Has anyone (who was, perhaps, at CSUN 2014) seen this?

Do you have any thoughts about this technology?


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Hi Anthony,

Douglas - CEO of Tactalis here. First off, thanks so much for sharing our project and our request for feedback with your audience! Much appreciated! Thought I would chime in with a few extra notes for context.

As far as examples of the value of the technology I can provide a few. In contrast to other tactile products we offer a couple differences:

The Origin platform lets you download tactile content and then display explore its tangible representation directly on the screen, without the need for a separate tactile overlay (though an overlay can be used to provide additional information without interfering with the tactile output). Our goal in the design of this technology was to create tactile graphics, like you would use on a TTT, that are instantly available, highly affordable, and able to provide many layers of information in one spot. I come from a mapping background, so the first intended use was for maps, but we're really trying to provide better accessibility to all types of graphics and images. Because our content is digital, they will ultimately be much cheaper and more readily available than traditional hardcopy formats.

Likewise, because our tactile content is fully digital it is also completely editable. Users can edit existing content easily, or create their own new tactile files and programs, and then upload them to cloud storage or share them with others online.

The VenturePrize event is actually a business plan competition held by the TecEdmonton startup incubator. The competition judged participants based on their potential customer impact and progress bringing a product to market. We placed 2nd and received a $30k prize, which I think speaks to how well received the concept was by a room full of tech experts. It wasn't a "venture capital" event, per se, but there we're staff from many firms in the room. Credit where credit is due: TecEdmonton, along with groups like the CNIB, Tecterra, & Innovate Calgary, have been amazing supporters of our project. We couldn't do this without them.

You may enjoy more information found in these podcasts:

Would love to talk more with AEBC and any of your members or partners in the future!

Thanks again,

ZZ - Disregard this link; it is used to trick spammers.