Ivan Poupvrev, directing chief for the Disney Research Interaction Group, explained the phenomenon: "Our brain perceives the 3D bump on a surface mostly from information that it receives via skin stretching"
Successful experiments revealed friction modulation achieved with electro vibration would fool a sliding finger into feeling depth on a plain touch screen surfaces. The next step was to incorporate all this into an algorithm. With the help of Disney's code tactile feedback could soon be incorporated in navigation systems to allow the feel of a 3D map or in tablets that could be used by blind people to recognize their surrounding environment.
But this is just the beginning. A Disney Research Engineer explained that the real great thing about their environment is that it can be used for dynamic visual content. And since nowadays most devices begin to rely on touch more and more we can only expect that the added rich tactile information will drastically enrich the user experience.