Japanese telecommunications operator KDDI is developing a smartphone which can accurately recreate the sensation of using physical buttons on a touch panel.

Using fingers to swipe, press and flick to perform certain actions on touchscreens is a new and easy way to interact with devices. The problem with it, however, is that the glass is unresponsive and doesn’t provide any feedback to the user, which makes it hard to tell if they have already selected a button. Even though some devices offer simple Haptic vibrations to notify input, it is still practically impossible to touch-type.

The new clicking function is achieved by a combining a vibration function and a pressure sensor in a Haptic touch panel. When users input letters, in addition to the visual feedback, they now get a feeling of having pushed something. KDDI claims that it actually feels as if you are touching or moving across buttons, and if you press lightly, you get a stronger clicking feeling as you select an application.