Ever since the release of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the new must have feature in smartphones has become 3D Touch. Even though the current uses for this technology are a bit limited, it still is something worth having.
This is bad news for people who own older generation phones and can’t enjoy it unless they upgrade to Apple. But now engineers from the University of Michigan (UM) have developed a software which can bring touch sensitivity to all phones.
Since the system works through software, it doesn’t need physical sensors to be added to the phone, it instead uses the phone’s speaker and microphone to create pressure sensitivity over the screen.
To do that, the software plays a constant tone out of the phone’s speaker. The tone is kept at a frequency above 18 kHz, which isn’t audible to human ears. Instead, the phone’s microphone uses these vibrations for Sonar purposes.
So, when someone touches the phone in a particular way, the tone is altered and the resultant feedback is noted by the microphone which can then be converted into actions.
The inventor of the software, Yu-Chih Tung, has admitted to getting this idea from The Dark Knight movie, in which Batman uses a sonar system to track the Joker.
Of course, Batman had a lot more resources, which highlights a major problem for the device, which comes in the form of rapid battery drainage. At a time when people are struggling to keep their devices charged, something like this may not be considered an ideal solution.
However, it’s not something that we need to worry about just yet, since for now this is just a proof of concept for a unique piece of technology.