The Future of Touch

BY Steve | No Comments

These days if it doesn’t have a touch
screen it’d best be a frying pan or a paper-weight, because it won’t sell.
Apple’s foray into the cellular market first catapulted the technology into the
limelight and there it’s resided, spawning countless imitators, yet (strangely)
few that have matched the iPhone’s finesse. In order to gain an edge in the
market companies have been developing new tweaks on the touch interface, like
tactile screens and gesture controls. But none have been so ambitious as Sensitive
Object and their Anywhere MultiTouch.

Sensitive Object boasts that their new
technology turns “any part of a product touch sensitive,” a feat they’ve
accomplished through pop technology’s latest buzzword ‘piezoelectrics.’ The
Anywhere MultiTouch platform, which is Windows 7 compliant, is actually an
extension of the company’s patented piezoelectric RiverSys technology, which
allows for touch recognition through surfaces such as aluminum, glass, and
plastics. As Sensitive Object notes the whole platform “simply relies on two
small piezoelectric sensors, a controller and some software.” ‘Nuff said,
right?

Well, in fact these piezoelectric sensors
function by detecting sound waves that occur in an object when it is touched. Tracking
where the material is touched follows from the fact that each area of a material
generates a unique ‘sound pattern.’ From this point algorithms and other
mathematical jargon takes place and the software is able to interpret, say you
sliding your thumb along the side of your phone. In turn, the phone could
consider this a scrolling action. Thus, rather than obscuring the screen with
your fat, stubby digits, Anywhere MultiTouch makes the entire product available
for interaction.

In order to increase its viability, the
platform also supports handwriting and palm rejection, as well as being
available at “a very competitive price,” according to the company.

This particular implementation of the
software opens up a whole host of new, creative designs. Sensitive Object has
set their sights on mobile phones, netbooks, and laptops as the idea
application of Anywhere MultiTouch. And while the technology conjures up all
sorts of interesting creations, I have one lingering reservation. My phone does
enough damage dialling numbers and going online while it’s ‘resting’ in my
pocket. And that’s with only ‘pressure sensitive buttons.’ Who knows what sort
of trouble a ‘touch anywhere’ device could get you into.

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