The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by increasing demand for enhanced user experiences, accessibility requirements, and the need for improved human-machine interactions. This has resulted in the growing importance of technologies such as sensor technology, haptic actuators, and materials science contributing to the development of more sophisticated and realistic tactile feedback devices. In the last three years alone, there have been over 4.1 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in technology: tactile feedback devicesBuy the report here.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

190+ innovations will shape the technology industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the technology industry using innovation intensity models built on over 1.5 million patents, there are 190+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, aural exciters, in-memory computing, and network-on-a-chip are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. RAID transmission error detection, projector-camera system, and hyperspectral imaging, and surround sound systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are digital image interpolation and distributed RAID drives, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the technology industry

Tactile feedback devices is a key innovation area in technology

Tactile feedback devices generate physical sensations for users based on their actions, such as pressing a button or interacting with a touchscreen. These devices include various types of input controllers, such as joysticks, gamepads, and haptic feedback controllers, which enhance the user's experience by providing haptic sensations in response to their inputs.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of tactile feedback devices.

Key players in tactile feedback devices – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to tactile feedback devices

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Minori 16 Unlock Company Profile
Sunrex Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile
Alps Alpine 10 Unlock Company Profile
Motorola Solutions 3 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 11 Unlock Company Profile
Taiyo Yuden 9 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 12 Unlock Company Profile
Moss 1 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 4 Unlock Company Profile
Hosiden 6 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 2 Unlock Company Profile
CEA 2 Unlock Company Profile
LG Display 10 Unlock Company Profile
Murata Manufacturing 25 Unlock Company Profile
Nissha. 4 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 26 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 34 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Electro-Mechanics 45 Unlock Company Profile
Immersion 342 Unlock Company Profile
Nitto Denko 8 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 28 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 3 Unlock Company Profile
Novasentis 3 Unlock Company Profile
Covestro 5 Unlock Company Profile
HYSONIC 5 Unlock Company Profile
BlackBerry 3 Unlock Company Profile
Namiki Precision Jewel 4 Unlock Company Profile
Chief Land Electronic 25 Unlock Company Profile
mPlus 7 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Electronics Telecommun 4 Unlock Company Profile
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission 4 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Immersion is the leading patent filer in tactile feedback devices. One of the company’s patents describes the haptic actuator that consists of a base and a haptic transducer that is partially suspended by the base. The haptic transducer includes a substrate and a smart material connected to the substrate. When an electrical signal with a specific frequency is applied, the smart material exhibits resonance, causing the haptic transducer to vibrate and produce a tactile sensation.  

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Samsung Electro-Mechanics and Kyocera.

By geographic reach, Nokia leads the pack, followed by Immersion and Qualcomm. In terms of application diversity, Moss holds the top position, followed by Covestro and Apple.  

Tactile feedback devices play a significant role in enhancing user experience by providing physical sensations that complement visual and auditory feedback. They enable users to interact with digital interfaces more intuitively, improving usability, immersion, and accessibility in various applications ranging from gaming and virtual reality to assistive technology and user interfaces.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Technology.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.