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3D touch technology has given rise to a new type of interaction with screens on mobile devices, making the experience more intuitive, natural and expressive. 3D touch combines hardware and software, providing a new dimension of user possibilities. It’s already transforming user interfaces, with a strong impact on market segments such as e-commerce, gaming, art, and data analysis.


How a transition from 2D to 3D touch changes digital technology

Users create actions on mobile devices through interaction with an icon on a screen.  The action is served with appropriate hardware that makes the actions possible.


The introduction of multi-touch technology by Apple in 2007 enabled users to apply a two-finger action to manipulate screen views and made navigation more flexible.


3D touch differentiates the level of pressure and helps a device understand whether a user is doing an action or choosing a more complex activity.


3D touch enables a new dimension in interaction

Tactile interaction is natural; it’s the way we interact with the surrounding world. 3D touch technology is on the rise because the digital experience draws the virtual world closer to the way we sense the real environment. 3D touch is based on force sensing and tactile feedback to create a new measurement of interaction with the interface.


The iPhone 6s is the latest implementation of this technology in the mobile market. Apple presents this through three functions called Peek, Pop and Quick Actions.


  • Peek is achieved through a light tap. It helps users perform preview activities, such as checking email without reading the actual email.
  • Pop requires a bit more tactile pressure and allows a user to see the content in a new window.
  • Quick Actions create shortcuts for activities when interacting with apps.


Pick and Pop functions on iPhone

An example of Peek and Pop functions on iPhone


The use of pressure on an icon of the iPhone screen allows a user to access additional action options. For example, the app for Instagram on the iPhone 6s has four quick actions that pop out once a user touches the app’s icon on the screen.


Quick Actions function on iPhone

An example of Quick Actions function on iPhone


What is the future of 3D touch technology?

Based on the current success of 3D touch, the next goal of technology development lies in diversifying and expanding the user interaction experience. One of the further ways to expand this technology is to marry it with a 3D interface, where physical properties of the screen and its functionality are adaptive.


Disney is developing a technology to make it possible to sense textures through a surface friction modulation on a screen. This type of technology is believed to create a revolution in many industries, especially when it comes to imagery. Sensing bumps, edges or textures will be possible in real time.


More advanced mobile device technology development will enable users to conduct tests for 3D printing, sense the texture of merchandise before purchase, collect data through vision and sound and create sculptures on a screen.


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