Malte Weiß
HCI Research · Software Development

FingerFlux (2011)

FingerFlux provides haptic feedback above the surface by applying electromagnetic forces to a permanent magnet that is attached to the user's finger.

Touch-screens only provides limited haptic feedback. Users cannot feel virtual on-screen controls and have to rely on their visual sense to operate the screen without drifting. Most of todays mobile devices solve this problem by triggering attached actuators, such as vibration motors. The main issue of such approaches is that haptic feedback first occurs in the moment when users touch the screen, that is, when the input has already been performed. The interface cannot be felt in advance, which can lead to drifting.

FingerFlux is an haptic output method that provides haptic feedback above a touch-surfaces. An array of electromagnetic fields beneath the surface can create arbitrary attracting and repelling fields. The user wears a permanent magnet at his index finger. This magnet reacts on the synthesized fields from the surface and transmits the induced force to the user’s finger. Thus, the user can feel the electromagnetic fields. Thereby, unlike most other approaches, we can both attract and repel user’s finger. This opens a variety of applications for haptic feedback about surfaces:


Application examples
Future designs
Video Presentation of FingerFlux on YouTube:

Details You find a detailed description of FingerFlux in my PhD Thesis in chapter 6 (pdf, 7.5 MB)


Context This project is part of my PhD.
  • Hardware infrastructure: Interactive tabletop with embedded array of electromagnets. Custom-made circuit boards and mbed controller trigger actuation process. Tracking via optical marker tracking.
  • Programming languages: Objective-C, C++ (mbed microcontroller)
  • Malte Weiss
  • Chat Wacharamanotham
  • Simon Voelker
  • Jan Borchers
Award Our demo won 3rd place in the category "Best demo" at UIST 2011 conference.

Further Information


Related publications

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