As you may be aware of my interest in natural input and the direct maipulation of virtual objects in education by my work with the Edusim project (http://edusim3d.com). Natural input is the concept of using natural type of movements to interact with digital devices. Direct manipulation is the concept of moving, creating and manipulating virtual objects with your hands. Another interest of mine is stereographics, making objects on a surface appear to "stick out" by the use of red/blue shading and red/blue glasses. In the future combined with nono-technology the screens could perhaps react with physical textures… but until then, we have haptics. As described here – [tinyurl.com] (at computerworld.com).
Haptics is essentially a device that reacts to the input you give it:
When playing Halo 3 on your Xbox 360, or other games on other consoles, your handheld game controller shakes and rumbles to coincide with on-screen explosions, crashes, gunshots and grenade detonations.
It's called haptics, or force feedback. In gaming and virtual reality, haptics boost realism by adding a third sense — touch — to augment vision and hearing.
A new generation of cell phones, as well as other gadgets, is introducing haptics. The purpose isn't to add realism, but to provide psychologically satisfying information about precisely when a button is pushed.
I can envision a surface in the future using an Edusim type of system in the school environment with not only direct manipulation, natural input, and stereographics, but also haptics to provide the little extra bit of information the student might respond to !