A TOUCHSCREEN MADE OF AIR?

 A TOUCHSCREEN MADE OF AIR?

Say hello to HaptoMime, your first touch screen that is not really there to touch.
But you can still feel it. Imagine having a holographic set up in your house straight out of Minority Report, and holding out your hand to the ‘screen’ that is projected by light beams. The infrared sensors will detect your hand and send out high-frequency sound towards your fingertips and palm so that you can feel the pressure of touch on your skin. So even though you’re only letting your hand hover in the air, you feel as if you’re touching a screen.
The holographic images currently are at a high enough resolution to read 6 point Times Roman font, and the infrared sensors are sensitive enough to allow someone to play a tune on a toy keyboard. As the resolutions get better and the sensitivity higher, applications for technology such as this are literally endless.
There are times when lack of physical touch can be beneficial to reduce risk of contamination: like in a kitchen which can be controlled by a hovering control pad. Another possible application is in operation theatres.
So there is a good chance that in a few years, we will all be operating and interacting with floating images all around us set up on imaginary screens which trick us into believing that they’re real and that they can be touched.

Damien Peters

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