What is Haptic Feedback: Use, Types and Benefits

What is Haptic Feedback: Use, Types and Benefits

Ever noticed how your game controller vibrates whenever you act in-game? Haptic feedback can be traced back to the 1990s, using touch to communicate between machines and humans. Haptics, or haptic technology, predominantly uses sensations or vibrations to give feedback to users.

You may be familiar with this on your phone as well. Whenever you get a notification or enter an input, your phone vibrates to let you know that it has received it. Tactile feedback encompasses sensory elements such as pain, temperature, body movement, and position in space.

The human somatosensory system has at least 12 specialized receptor types, each sending a different signal to the brain. Haptic technology interfaces humans and connected machines by recreating the sense of touch and providing force feedback to its users. It is also known as 3D touch or kinaesthetic communication and can improve user experience by engaging light, sound, and touch.

The global haptic technology market is forecasted to reach USD 17.49 billion by 2032 and grow at a CAGR of 11.56% from 2023 to 2032. Here is everything you need to know about the technology, how it works, its use cases, and key drivers.

What is Haptic Feedback?

Haptic feedback opens up possibilities for new user experiences by incorporating tactile feedback or touch vibrations into applications. The technology uses vibrations, motions, and forces to communicate in some way and carry out pre-defined or defined actions.

Apple Watch is a classic example of this: when a user taps the device, a new alert or notification pops up. However, this is a basic example of haptic technology, and Android devices have built-in haptic capabilities too.

Tablets with touchscreens and many other electronics transmit information to the user via touch. Your car's steering wheel vibrates when the parking sensors detect an object just a few feet or centimeters away. Haptics can use a family of technologies and embed audio-video communications with tactile feedback into devices.

How Does Haptic Feedback Work?

Haptic feedback employs some vibrating components that are operated by an electronic circuit. Controllers determine when the device vibrates, what pattern of vibrations it uses, and other actions that can customize the user experience. Tactile feedback may be combined with audio feedback to provide an in-depth experience.

Vibrotactile feedback can use motors to respond to built-in triggers. To understand how haptic works differently, you must explore the different haptic feedback technologies you can use.

Types Of Haptic Feedback Technology

Below are the top haptic feedback types available to users:

  • Vibrotactile haptics are used for on-body applications where actuators are integrated with small form factors and tiny motors to create vibrations. Its tactile effects are found in games, mobile phones, and VR controllers.
  • Force control – Mechanical devices exert force on the user's limbs, hands, whole body, or other parts. Examples are airplane yokes, gamepads, car wheels, and others.
  • Microfluidics – Microminiaturized devices that house chambers and tunnels have fluids flowing through them. They create pockets of pressure or temperature on the user's skin. The HydroRing supports mixed-reality haptics using liquid flow, delivers compelling sensations directly to the user's fingertips, and augments touchscreens with thermal feedback.
  • Ultrasonic mid-air haptics – Frequencies that surpass the range of human hearing project tactile sensations directly on the hands. It is a patented technology where algorithms use a mix of ultrasonic waves, modulation techniques, and phased arrays to transmit waves, making it possible to render complex shapes and other effects in mid-air. It is currently being used with 3D, hand-tracking cameras as we speak.
  • Surface haptics – Surface haptics enable tactile effects on touch surfaces such as tablets, kiosks, information displays, and front panels of new-generation home appliances. It converts passive touchscreens into active ones and can force modulation in the normal directions and tangential planes.

Why Is Haptic Feedback Important?

Haptic feedback is important because it provides more profound and more immersive experiences during engagement with the users' senses. It adds different sensations that correspond with different audio and visual stimuli. Haptic feedback uses vibrational patterns to stimulate tactile experiences; it is a powerful way of letting users know when they've done something.

A 2018 study revealed that nerve cells present in the skin capture information via touch and transmit it to the brain directly. The skin is the human body's largest organ; it can communicate positive or negative touch stimuli to sensory neurons, thus making haptic feedback highly intuitive and effective.

Benefits of Haptic Feedback

Haptic feedback isn't just a tiny feature but dramatically improves the in-app experience. It adds the element of presence and enriches the user experience by providing tactile feedback and increasing real-time accuracy. The benefits of haptic feedback in the medical industry can be found in robot-assisted surgeries and their moderators. During operations, it leads to better patient outcomes and reduces surgical strain.

In the virtual world, haptic feedback is used to help users see, feel, and perceive textures, weights, and shapes. It facilitates increasing natural interactions with real-world objects and physical features in simulations. Immersive audio-visual presentations help users prepare for real-world encounters, and healthcare training professionals use haptic gloves. We can expect a rise in immersive experiences in virtual reality apps and the metaverse.

Other benefits of haptic feedback in different domains are as follows:

  • It provides physical feedback during breathing exercises in meditation apps and produces vibrations during gameplay
  • Banking apps use haptic feedback to confirm transactions and notify users about their accounting activities.
  • Haptic feedback is used in social media to notify users when they double-tap videos or interact with any published content.
  • Navigation apps like Google Maps benefit users by giving them real-time direction cues using haptic feedback, letting them know whether to turn right or left when traveling.
  • Haptic feedback can be used in messaging platforms to notify users about incoming messages.

Haptic Feedback in Your App: Use Cases

Using haptic feedback in your app to enrich storytelling and recreate real-world experiences by leveraging AR and VR. It adds a layer of dynamism to interactions and can provide genuinely immersive narrative experiences.

Haptic feedback technology can heighten touch experiences in virtual environments and help users acquire the feeling of distance, shapes, and textures of digital elements as if interacting with them in the real world. You can use haptics to provide more tangible and responsive digital interactions with user interfaces in touchscreen devices. Intuitive gesture recognition, realistic touch sensations, enhanced typing experiences, and instant alerts and notifications are some example use cases. Haptic feedback controls can be embedded with infotainment and navigation apps.

You can use haptics in AR-based mobile applications to improve user engagement and enhance realism. It's essential to ensure that haptic responses are relevant, contextual, and aligned with the users' actions within the app. In the e-commerce sector, you can use haptic technology to simulate the feel of products and let users try different weights and fabrics. It's an excellent way for online shoppers to try out brands before purchasing.

You can design virtual showrooms and showcase different products/services too. If you are building a social media app, you can use haptics to convey emotions and enhance social interactions by using virtual handshakes, high-fives, and other physical cues. Second skin and motion simulators can take your apps one step closer to complete immersion. Many intelligent wearables with haptics and mobile apps are coming out, adding a new dimension to what we can do.

Interacting with digital elements may seem like pure fiction, but haptics make it now possible.

Below are some famous use cases of haptics in mobile app development:

  • Create custom effects using different haptic APIs for Android apps
  • Highlight collisions between medium-sized, large, and lightweight UI objects and show the scale of impact
  • Enable haptic responses such as pinch to zoom, pull to refresh, toggle switches, and pop-up lists with long-presses
  • Give selection feedback on UI and show how different elements/values are changing
  • Add a vibrational response to every tap, slide, or scroll made by users on the app
  • Add haptic feedback to events, such as time pickers, virtual keyboard presses, and text selection
  • On-screen haptics, such as facial recognition checks while unlocking the app
  • Off-screen haptics includes power on/off, magic mouse interaction, touch ID success/error feedback, and trackpad click interactions.
  • Display error states during incorrect password entries and confirm transactions upon successful online payments.
  • Convey the correct information to the user upon request, with the correct sharpness and intensity, to provide a more immersive experience.


Touch is one of the best ways to interact with the world, and haptics add a sense of realism to interactions. It connects users on a deeper level and fosters communications that are linked in intimate ways using the body's senses and association with presence. Adding haptics to your mobile app can decrease completion times and error rates when delivering products or services.

You can hire iOS developers who have expertise with haptic technology to build the latest mobile apps. Haptics are meant to complement your in-app workflows and enhance user experiences. It's important to implement the right haptics strategy across different devices and platforms to ensure the best results and provide your users with high-quality, consistent, engaging, and interactive experiences.  You can get started with haptics in mobile app development by getting in touch with our team at Clarion Technologies today.


Dilip Kachot, a seasoned Technical Architect with over 7 years of experience in the Mobility domain, excels in driving successful delivery of cutting-edge solutions. His expertise lies in architecting and implementing innovative mobility solutions that align with the evolving technological landscape.

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