Tiny Feel: A New Miniature Tactile Module Using Elastic and Electromagnetic Force for Mobile Devices

Tae-Heon YANG  Sang-Youn KIM  Wayne J. BOOK  Dong-Soo KWON  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E93-D   No.8   pp.2233-2242
Publication Date: 2010/08/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
DOI: 10.1587/transinf.E93.D.2233
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Human-computer Interaction
tactile actuator,  miniature actuator,  solenoid,  tactile display,  haptics,  

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For tactile feedback in mobile devices, the size and the power consumption of tactile modules are the dominant factors. Thus, vibration motors have been widely used in mobile devices to provide tactile sensation. However, the vibration motor cannot sufficiently generate a great amount of tactile sensation because the magnitude and the frequency of the vibration motor are coupled. For the generation of a wide variety of tactile sensations, this paper presents a new tactile actuator that incorporates a solenoid, a permanent magnet and an elastic spring. The feedback force in this actuator is generated by elastic and electromagnetic force. This paper also proposes a tiny tactile module with the proposed actuators. To construct a tiny tactile module, the contactor gap of the module is minimized without decreasing the contactor stroke, the output force, and the working frequency. The elastic springs of the actuators are separated into several layers to minimize the contactor gap without decreasing the performance of the tactile module. Experiments were conducted to investigate each contactor output force as well as the frequency response of the proposed tactile module. Each contactor of the tactile module can generate enough output force to stimulate human mechanoreceptors. As the contactors are actuated in a wide range of frequency, the proposed tactile module can generate various tactile sensations. Moreover, the size of the proposed tactile module is small enough to be embedded it into a mobile device, and its power consumption is low. Therefore, the proposed tactile actuator and module have good potential in many interactive mobile devices.