The best way to interact with smartphones and tablets is to touch the surface of the screen. Desktop PCs and laptops have also become more user-friendly with touchscreen displays. The experience is better than traditional displays, and manufactures are improving upon the design constantly. Many of the innovations in touchscreen technology focus on tactile feedback and projection screens. Here are five touchscreen technologies to look forward to.
Electrostatic Vibration - Disney Research
Instead of just touching the screen, feel what's on the display with electrostatic vibration. With this feature, different textures on the screen will feel differently on the finger. The sensation is caused by a change in the friction of the surface. You will be able to distinguish different objects on the screen by touch.
FingerSense - Qeexo
FingerSense is a software designed to recognize different types of touch on a screen. It can distinguish between the fingertip, fingernail, passive stylus tip, passive stylus eraser, and knuckle. This allows access to different functionalities within an app depending on the way the touchscreen is used. FingerSense can also recognize differences in force applied to the surface of the screen. This is especially useful in games where the amount of force applied to the screen is proportional to the action. For example, if you press the screen hard in a race car game, the car will accelerate quickly, but if you press it lightly, the car will accelerate slowly.
Touchscreen Buttons - Tactus
Instead of a flat touch screen keyboard, have buttons instantly rise from the display when you need to type something. Tactus has invented a new virtual keyboard that feels like a real keyboard. The screen features microfluids that fill a polymer layer and create button-shaped keys on the screen. After typing, the buttons recede into the device.
Capacitive Fingerprinting - Disney Research
User differentiation is the goal of capacitive fingerprinting technology. With this, it is possible for a touchscreen display to recognize the individual user based on their electrical properties. This could allow personalization of the screen as the user interacts with it. The technology uses swept frequency capacitive sensing, which measures the users impedence to the environment across a range of AC frequencies. Each user would have a different impedance profile when they touch the screen.
Touch Projection Screens - Light Blue Optics, Fujitsu
Several companies have developed devices that can recognize interaction with a projected image or physical surface. Light Touch, developed by Light Blue Optics, projects an image onto a tabletop and allows the user to interact with it by selecting objects and even typing on the tabletop with their fingers.
Fujitsu has developed a system that lets you transfer data from a physical source to a digital format with just your finger. The main advantage of this is that you can enlarge the size of an image displayed on a projection screen by motioning with your fingers to expand the image on the physical paper. The system uses web cameras to record the finger movements and interaction with objects and processes it, before displaying the result of the action on the screen using a standard projector.