The majority of people will experience haptics every day via their smartphone. Haptic feedback includes the vibration when notifications or calls are received, the “clicking” sensation in many phones when interacting with physical buttons, and other touch-based interactions with devices.
However, haptics existed as a prominent technology market well before the smartphone age. Historically, the majority of devices containing haptics were sold in controllers for games consoles. Haptic actuators called ERM motors were deployed to give the familiar vibration feedback at appropriate times during a game. Haptics in smartphones started using a similar technology. ERM (eccentric rotating mass) motors were deployed in many early smartphones in order to provide vibration feedback corresponding to incoming calls and messages.
Beyond smartphones, haptics have also been introduced into several other product sectors with varying degrees of success. Devices such as pagers have used haptics for many decades. More recently, the wearable technology sector has widely adopted haptics, particularly in products such as smartwatches and other fitness trackers. Haptics are also used in vehicles, most prominently for driver alerts (e.g. lane departure warnings), but with many companies increasingly looking to add haptic feedback as part of infotainment interfaces in vehicles. Haptics have also been introduced in some laptops (e.g. with actuators under trackpads), albeit with a smaller percentage penetration, and there have even been some attempts to use newer technologies enabling surface haptics in other devices such as tablets.
Snapshot of IDTechEx data showing haptics revenue by device type in 2019. The report splits out each of these categories into a total of 10 device types, each of which is described according to the types of products and haptics technology integration.
Source: IDTechEx research
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