A Microsoft blog said that haptic technology does for the sense of touch what computer graphics does for vision. The touchscreen has a robotic arm to adjust how ‘hard’ different surfaces feel to the user. When a person touches one of the objects displayed the screen responds, tracking what the user is touching and pushing back against them. A force-feedback monitor responds to convey the sensation of different material.
“The stone block “feels” hard to the touch and requires more force to push, while the sponge block is soft and easy to push," the Redmond blog said.
When the returned pressure is combined with more standard 3D screen technology, that tracks the user and adjusts at what angle and size the object is displayed on screen to give the illusion of depth. This makes it possible for your brain to accept the virtual world as real.
It appears to be just the technology the porn industry has been waiting for, but Microsoft seems to think its killer app will be the medical industry.