You probably use at least one touchscreen every day on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Interacting with a touchscreen is as normal as pressing buttons on your television remote, but it wasn’t always this way.
Touchscreens used to be resistive (where you had to apply pressure for them to register touch) and it was only in 2008 when Apple launched the iPhone with its capacitive touchscreen that we consumers saw the technology as truly useful. All of a sudden, touch was interactive and enjoyable to use.
But the advancements didn’t end there. Soon after, touchscreens were developed that could register multi-touch input (think pinch and zoom). This was a gamechanger because it brought a new dimension to usability.
Question is, what other game-changers are coming?
The future of interactive touchscreens
Interactive touchscreens have enjoyed all the same advancements seen in smartphones, only on a larger scale. Their potential is greater, which makes them a good base from which to predict the future for all touchscreens.
Here are a few exciting emerging technologies you need to know about:
One of the trends in the automotive world right now is gesture control, which allows a person to operate some in-car functions by moving their hand.
Gesture control is likely to feature in more interactive touchscreens in the future because content that is displayed on a screen can be interacted with without touching the screen at all. This makes sense for big displays (we’re talking 75” upwards) because getting too close to displays of this size limits our view of them. It’s all about improving usability, and gesture control certainly offers enhancements on large screens.
One product that already offers gesture control is the Smart MX-65.
Object recognition is what you see in sci-fi when someone places a physical object on a display, and it loads information about it.
It requires objects to be equipped with an identification chip. Those that interact with the display in real-time, loading up whatever is asked of the identification chip with a menu so you can access different content.
The use cases include point of sale, education, entertainment, architecture and virtually any industry where information can be displayed. In fact, this technology could even tap directly into our smartphones. Think screencasting and data sharing on steroids. USB sticks and other storage devices are also candidates.
The use cases for optical recognition are vast, so we’ll focus on one – the ability for a touchscreen to pre-load content before you request it, based on what you are looking at.
The benefit of this is simple: instant access to content with no load time. Apps and content are pre-loaded before you tap them.
The technology uses an infrared camera to track eye movement. Infrared light is directed towards the eyes which causes detectable reflections. These reflections are then tracked by the camera. Using this technology, a display could quite easily predict what you are going to want to access, perhaps even before you do!
Interactive touchscreens could benefit greatly from this feature. For end-users, load times are a common bugbear of the systems touchscreens are attached to. Could optical recognition help solve the issue?