iPhone- cutting edge haptic interface

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UPDATED: Neils in the comments set me right…. I’m just blocking the sound with my finger. I don’t think this is any haptic interface at this point. Too bad, it’s a cool idea.

The iPhone is an ingenious device– anyone that’s used one for a few hours can tell you this. Even with all the missing features, so much thought and design has gone into this first generation iPhone that getting this to ship on the promised date must have been a staggering amount of work.

The iPhone is on the cutting edge of haptic interfaces- the much vaunted pinch-and-zoom is the most striking example of that. But there are other interfaces around, some more subtle. I’m sure there are more that I haven’t even found yet. But here is one I haven’t seen written about anywhere else- the mute-touch.

If you play a video on iPhone, (YouTube or iPod video) the screen wants to go wide, and so you rotate it counter-clockwise, with the speakers now pointing to the right.

You need to be using the speakers for this to work- as you are listening to the video, touch the lower speaker (this would be the right-hand bottom quarter) on iPhone. It mutes the sound. Let go and the sound pops back to normal. A really nice touch.

4 thoughts on “iPhone- cutting edge haptic interface

  1. Hmm… I wouldn’t refer to that as haptics — that’s normally about communicating or reading information through touch or kinesthetics. What you are talking about is a *tactile* interface. Basically, the difference between touching, and being touched.

  2. Niels

    No problem! It is just a testament to the build / component quality of the iphone.. Think about it, there’s another set of holes an inch away, yet almost no sound leaks out of there when you cover the speaker holes!

    When I first bought it I had a similar experience, to protect my new precious, I kept the screen protector on. Then, when using it to talk the ‘regular phone way’, on the ear, I started regretting my purchase. I just could not seem to get it loud enough.

    Then I figured out what was up. The screen protector blocked the ear piece hole. Nearly muted the phone. Screen protector is gone now, and I love the iphone. best phone, browser, interactive rand m’cnally maps book, ipod, overall toy I have ever owned.

  3. Oh man, I feel silly now. After extensive testing, I believe that you are correct. It’s amazing that just touching the holes so lightly can block so much sound (try in a very quiet environment) but I think that Niels is right. I’m just blocking the speaker.

    Also, I now think that the black outside piece is plastic, which would be harder to use as a touch interface.

    So it may not be an intended haptic interface, but it does work amazingly well to mute your iPhone.

  4. Niels

    You mean by covering the speaker holes with your finger you don’t hear the sound anymore? There’s only 1 speaker in the iPhone.. the other set of holes cover the mic. at least, according to what I’ve read.

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