A reconfigurable tactile display (RTD) is a control interface that provides physical touch input, but that can be configured by programming. The RTD differs from a conventional liquid crystal display (LCD) or touch screen. An early example of an RTD, which incorporates a small camera and projector in a unit measuring approximately 16 inches (40 centimeters) diagonally and 6 inches (15 centimeters) deep, has a three-dimensional convex screen that provides the tactile feedback of a set of mechanical controls, but with the image resolution, color, and variability of a computer display. Such a system is under development by Digital Dash of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
The RTD is expected to find applications in transportation, especially in cars and trucks. In combination with a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, an RTD can facilitate navigation by displaying maps showing the location of a car or truck relative to surrounding streets and landmarks. Displayed items include dashboard parameters and controls such as heating and cooling adjustment, fan speed, window defrosting and defogging, local time, outside temperature, radio channel, radio volume, and radio speaker balance.
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