Things such as brightness and responsiveness are adjustable variables on touchscreens. But what about stickiness? Is that even possible on a glass screen? Short answer: yes. And researchers at the University of British Columbia are showing off how this is possible.

According to New Scientist:

The friction adjustment is actually something of a trick. The surface of the screen itself is made of glass and does not become rougher or smoother. Instead, the glass is made to vibrate at around 26,000 Hz by a series of small mechanical discs that sit at the edge of the screen. This creates a thin film of moving air on top of the glass, which has the effect of making the screen feel stickier. By adjusting the vibrations in response to finger movements across the glass, the system can create a convincing illusion in which objects appear to bump into each other or stick to things.


What's the use for this increased friction? Well in a current demo, the screen will get stickier when you take one object—files, icons, folders, etc.—and drag it over another. And when you start to think about gaming, the possibilities could be endless. Exciting! [New Scientist]