TouchSense technology supplies tactile cues, noticeably absent in current touchscreens, providing a more intuitive, personal, and natural experience. Instead of just feeling the hard, unresponsive touchscreen surface, users perceive that buttons depress and release, just as physical buttons and switches do. This realistic and engaging response restores the rich tactile information conveyed through physical controls, such as when clicking a computer mouse, pushing a button, or depressing a membrane switch. System designers can synchronize TouchSense tactile sensations with sound and on-screen graphical images for an even more powerful user experience.
Immersion first implemented its TouchSense force feedback technology in 1996 in gaming system peripherals. Since that time, it has been incorporated into numerous computer and video console systems; medical simulation systems; rotary controls in cars from BMW, Rolls Royce, and Volkswagen; and mobile phones from Samsung. TouchSense technology for touchscreens is the latest implementation.
(...) "TouchSense technology allows the user's sense of touch to join sight and sound for a more multisensory and engaging experience, one that can enhance performance, productivity, safety, or fun," said Dean Chang, Immersion CTO. "Touchscreen manufacturers and integrators can use this vibro-tactile, or haptic, technology to provide a more satisfying user experience for applications from automotive and industrial controls to point of sale, kiosk, and gaming."
(...) Immersion will begin selling demonstration touch monitors integrated with TouchSense technology, which will be suitable for testing design concepts, in June. Development kits for integration of the technology by OEMs or system integrators are expected to be available in Q3 2005. Immersion also offers design assistance and customized services.
If I understand the technology correctly, it has to do with the term vibrotactile. That is the area of expertise of the inventor that cropped up in the patent posted below. I know it´s a bit of a long shot. Especially since Nintendo has ruled out touchscreens for the controller. However, this simply is no ordinary touchscreen but a new technology altogether. But even if this is unrelated to Nintendo, we should be aware of its existence. If you are interested in more detail on TouchSense, check Immersion´s touchscreen page.