Touch screens aren't the only way of doing this. Shillito is leading a team that has developed software that allows artists to receive physical feedback when designing virtual 3D objects.
The team's approach uses a haptic device called Falcon, which vibrates and moves to allow users to "feel" virtual objects. Originally developed for 3D gaming, Falcon is a cross between a joystick and a mouse. As the user moves the controller in three dimensions, its movements are mirrored by a cursor on the computer screen. When the cursor interacts with objects in its 3D virtual environment, the tiny motors in the device provide resistance and small vibrations to give feedback about various properties of the virtual object being designed, such as its weight, texture and shape. "What we have is the sensation of touch, and because this is so natural to our way of interacting in the real world, it means you can tap into the tacit knowledge we have of 3D objects," Shillito says.
Very interesting article about art and technology.