I’ve always wondered about the meaning of universal design: it's theoretically a deep and complex concept, and challenging to practically implement in everyday products. Is it really possible to create an object that fits all users perfectly yet feels custom made and flexible enough for each individual? I took on the challenge with project Touch for LG, a state-of-the-art smartphone with raised touch screen that morphs in 3D thanks to micro-shock waves running through a polymer membrane. Design is not an overriding priority for a phone that is the result of research on interaction and ergonomics rather than style. The raised touch screen gives the users tactile feedback (a feature smartphones currently lack). Thanks to the raised touch screen, vision impaired users will be able to interact with the smart phone, elderly users will find it easier to type and surf the internet, and everyone will benefit from the unprecedented level of interaction and dual feedback – visual and tactile. Users will be able to feel the texture of a fabric or a surface by touching the embossed image at the bottom of the screen: virtual reality is here and now.
Presented at the LG Mobile Design Competition 2012, LG Touch was awarded the Grand Prize on November 20th, 2012.