What Is Tactile Feedback?

By Wayne Howard

Tactile feedback gives a feeling similar to pressing real keys.
i Steve Hix/Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images

You may be familiar with tactile feedback but do not know it by name or even how it actually works. Tactile feedback refers to the technology embedded in some electronic devices that operate on touch sensations. If you have a touch-screen cell phone, you most likely experience tactile feedback every day.


Woman using phone
i Andresr/iStock/Getty Images

Tactile feedback mechanisms respond to touch, simulating a sensation of tapping. The response is accomplished through the use of subtle and textured vibrations. Tactile feedback, however, does not interfere with the operation of the actual device.

How It Works

Man texting on phone
i Adam Radosavljevic/iStock/Getty Images

An actuator, a small motorlike device, causes the vibration in equipment with tactile feedback. Software known as the haptic player actually controls how intense the actuator vibrates and when it vibrates.


Girls looking at phone
i Roger Weber/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Many touch-screen cell phones provide tactile feedback so users know when they press something on the screen. Tactile feedback also helps when typing as most people are accustomed to a response when pressing keys. Some game controllers also use tactile feedback to enhance a players' interaction with the video game.