Next-Generation Cost-Efficient Touch Interface for Large Sized Objects

Technology Overview

Existing technologies for large-sized touch interfaces are costly and do not offer after-market conversion; almost all touch technology needs to be pre-fabricated. In addition, non-display and 3D touch surfaces are essentially non-existent. A recent invention which allows one to convert an ordinary surface into a touch interface has been developed and prototyped. These surfaces include glass, wood, aluminum and acrylic-materials; found in most everyday objects. The prototype involves the use of low-cost surface-mounted sensors that detect vibrations generated by a finger/stylus tapping on the surface - effectively converting any flat surface into a touch interface.

Technology Features & Specifications

The novelty of the proposed technology lies in the method of using low-cost vibration sensors to localize a finger tap. Low-cost sensors can be mounted easily and it has the potential to provide a low-cost solution in converting surfaces into a touch interface. In terms of commercial viability, this technology therefore allows one to serve after-market needs such as the conversion of flat panel displays, glass walls etc. to a touch interface which none of the existing technology is capable of.  Features include:

  • Ease of mounting of sensors to most daily objects
  • Robustness to most outdoor background vibration
  • Robust to lighting conditions, infra-red interference and occlusion

Potential Applications

This technology is applicable in the following industries: 

  • Conversion of flat-panel displays into a touch interface for digital signage and other such applications at a fraction of the cost compared to a touch screen
  • Conversion of a table-top into a touch interface for the food and beverage (F&B) industry and home applications
  • converting the chassis of a laptop into an alphanumeric keyboard without mechanical parts

Market Trends and Opportunities

Current digital signages/directories in shopping malls involve the use of flat panel displays. While these displays allow multimedia digital content to be updated seamlessly via push technology, they are still passive and lack interactivity. The proposed technology will allow end-users to interact with these digital signages so as to provide an immersive experience. In addition to the above, existing technologies for touch interfaces are costly, limited in size and are incapable of serving the after-market needs; existing touch surfaces have to be pre-fabricated and their size and/or functionality cannot be modified after production or shipment. It is therefore timely to convert existing screens to touch interfaces to serve the market needs. In the long term, conversion of existing 3D objects to touch-enabled interfaces will also see an increase in demand in light of the advent in home automation and security technology.

Customer Benefits

  • low-cost touch solution for large surfaces 
  • scalable touch interface according to the needs of the market users - the touch interface need not be pre-fabricated in terms of size and shape anymore 
  • technology is not limited to glass and address the after-market needs by allowing one to convert an existing surface or object into a touch interface 
  • touch interface technology can even be extended to 3D objects

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