Apple debuted the Force Touch technology in its flagship iPhone 6s and 6s Plus that launched last year. Later, many smartphones adopted this technology naming a few among them are the Gionee S8, ZTE Axon Mini and Huawei Mate S. The innovative pressure sensitive displays are still not included in most of the premium smartphones as it could drastically increase manufacturing costs which they companies are not ready to bear at this moment.
Now, a research team from the University of Michigan are developing a new software app called as “ForcePhone” that could give any smartphone force touch capabilities and the most important part is it does not use any additional hardware. The ForcePhone app uses the speaker and mic of the device to give any smartphone’s the pressure sensitive displays.
The app will emit a sound of 18KHz that is basically negligible for the human ears but is high enough the phone’s mic to detect. When any user presses the screen with a finger, the frequency of the sound changes continuously which the mics catch and converts it as per the commands of software. The frequency will keep changing depending on the force applied on the screen. Interestingly, the ForcePhone app can also detect the force applied on the sides of the phone other than the display.
Yu-Chih Tung, a team member from the University of Michigan, said, “Having expensive and bulky sensors installed into smartphones can solve every problem we have solved, but the added cost and laborious instalment prevent phone manufacturers from doing it. Our Sound-based solution can fill this gap, providing the functionality without making any hardware modification. Everything is just software.”
ForcePhone app will be a huge revolution in the smartphone world as it would use the phone’s peripherals cutting the cost of the expensive hardware. On the other side, the new technology can also be battery draining process as it would use the mic and speaker continuously to achieve the force touch capabilities. However, it is too early to point out as the new software is still in developing stage and is not ready for the public use. The investors are expected to give the first demo of ForcePhone app at the upcoming Mobisys event in Singapore scheduled for June 27th to 29th.