Report analyses market for haptics and touch technologies

Paul Boughton
Research and development relating to haptics and touch technologies are continuing at a rapid pace due to heavy demand from high-volume applications such as smart phones, portable gaming devices, navigation devices, media players, digital cameras, tablet computers and e-readers. While touch technology pervades applications such as automated teller machines (ATMs), casinos, medical, automotive and aerospace, haptics technology is most prevalent in the medical and gaming arena.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, 'Advances in Haptics and Touch Technology,' finds that a major section of the market for touch-based products is expected to adopt haptics due to the enhanced user experience delivered by the combined technologies. Touch screen technology is rapidly making inroads into a broad range of application sectors such as industrial, commercial and consumer electronics.
Haptics and touch technologies provide a real-time experience, which, in turn, significantly improves the understanding of the process and the time consumed in executing a specific task. Feedback from the device further enhances the end-user experience and facilitates real-world simulation. Participants across industries have been striking strategic partnerships to implement these technologies.
Frost & Sullivan Technical Insights research analyst Amritha S comments: "Acquisitions and partnerships are propelling the growth of this market, especially with start-up companies that are focused on improving touch interfaces. Innovative touch technologies developed by start-ups are also being licensed by the bigger companies to enhance existing technologies." University researches and funding activities play a vital role in expanding the reach of these technologies.
However, there is another side to this huge rise in the adoption of touch screens in high-volume markets. The mass uptake has resulted in a new set of criteria and requirements for touch technology providers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and application software developers. Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding about factors such as response time, resolution, accuracy and durability of the touch screen.
The adoption rate of haptics technology has also suffered due to ineffective system integration and lack of awareness. Industry participants have to educate end-users about the benefits of haptics and ensure smooth system integration to guarantee the delivery of feedback at the appropriate time. Touch screens offer ease of use, speed, and accuracy, and reduce the time taken to learn new applications.
Technical Insights research analyst Avanti Chitnis adds: "Touch screens provide a computer interface that is fast and easy to use. They offer considerable cost savings and productivity improvements."
Haptics is expected to follow the trend of touch screens' popularity, and the technology is expected to play a key role in almost all sectors due to users' preference for simplified user input mechanisms. It is particularly useful in the medical domain for simulation and training. Multitouch technology and the emergence of multitouch user interfaces have created a paradigm shift in human computer interaction (HCI).
Chitnis says: "Multitouch brings with it the ease of browsing, selecting options, handwriting and data entry, arranging and sizing windows, and picking and dragging movements. This technology allows users to interact with computers in a more natural and intuitive manner, taking HCI to the next level."
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