Forget glassy touch screens — the next big thing in human-machine interaction is tactile interfaces. Apple and Microsoft have texture-generating screens in the lab, meaning future devices will offer a new interactivity. (Feeling the keystrokes on your iPhone? Yes, please!) Touchy-feely tech is already present elsewhere, such as a haptic glove that gives sensory navigation cues to the visually impaired. It's one of several prototypes at this San Francisco meeting, where designers will discuss how the future will look — and feel.
A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.