Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Magic Touch

The big news in technology and user interfaces has undoubtedly been the iPad; Apple's latest wonder device that will change the world. Furthering the success of the iPod Touch and iPhone, Apple created an enlarged device so that you could have a multi-touch with you where ever you could go.

But what if, instead of buying an single device that has multi-touch, you could add a touch display to any computing device you have? Or, better yet, anything electronic at all?

This is the idea that Displayx has bet on, according to an article from Wired.com's Gadget Lab. Instead of creating a whole new device, Displayx's touch sensitive film – 100 microns thick; less than a sheet of paper - could be affixed to anything... glass, metal, wood. The film can detect up to 16 fingers at once on a 50" display (by far larger than any computer monitor and many HDTVs) and can be used as small as 3" square. Too many tasks for 16 fingers to handle? That's ok, because you can also blow on the screen as a form of input. Because it's not a piece of hardware per se and just a input device, anything that runs a simple computer could possibly use it.

Even more importantly, according to the Wired article devices using the Displayx film will begin shipping this July. The main advantage that Displayx has – besides making you feel like you're in Minority Report – is that manufacturers don't have to alter their production methods drastically to install the film on their devices (the netbooks and Kindles of the world).

The possibilities are endless for a device of the sort. Toasters that you slide a finger down to make your toast. A car trunk that opens by tapping a touch sensitive area. Automated wheel chairs that are directed by simple gestures. Literally anything. And, unlike the iPad that Steve Jobs unveiled a week ago, this simple device really is magical.

And thanks to Wired for this little piece of placement hilarity. The Displayx makes the iPad look not so big now after all:

Top Photo Credited to [Displayx]

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