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Posts Tagged ‘touchscreens’

TapSense technology expands touchscreen interaction possibilities

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

TapSenseSmartphone and tablet computer owners have become adept at using finger taps, flicks and drags to control their touchscreens. But Carnegie Mellon University researchers have found that this interaction can be enhanced by taking greater advantage of the finger’s anatomy and dexterity.

By attaching a microphone to a touchscreen, the CMU scientists showed they can tell the difference between the tap of a fingertip, the pad of the finger, a fingernail and a knuckle. This technology, called TapSense, enables richer touchscreen interactions.

While typing on a virtual keyboard, for instance, users might capitalize letters simply by tapping with a fingernail instead of a finger tip, or might switch to numerals by using the pad of a finger, rather toggling to a different set of keys.

Another possible use would be a painting app that uses a variety of tapping modes and finger motions to control a pallet of colors, or switch between drawing and erasing without having to press buttons.

“TapSense basically doubles the input bandwidth for a touchscreen,” said Chris Harrison, a Ph.D. student in Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII). ”

This is particularly important for smaller touchscreens, where screen real estate is limited. If we can remove mode buttons from the screen, we can make room for more content or can make the remaining buttons larger.”

TapSense was developed by Harrison, fellow Ph.D. student Julia Schwarz, and Scott Hudson, a professor in the HCII. Harrison will discuss the technology today (Oct. 19) at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology in Santa Barbara, Calif. A video demonstrating the technology’s capabilities and possible applications can be viewed at:
chrisharrison.net/index.php/Research/TapSense.

“TapSense can tell the difference between different parts of the finger by classifying the sounds they make when they strike the touchscreen,” Schwarz said. An inexpensive microphone could be readily attached to a touchscreen for this purpose.

New mike required

The microphones already in devices for phone conversations would not work well for the application, however, because they are designed to capture voices, not the sort of noise that TapSense needs to operate.

The technology also can use sound to discriminate between passive tools (i.e., no batteries) made from such materials as wood, acrylic and polystyrene foam. This would enable people using styluses made from different materials to collaboratively sketch or take notes on the same surface, with each person’s contributions appearing in a different color or otherwise noted.

The researchers found that their proof-of-concept system was able to distinguish between the four types of finger inputs with 95 percent accuracy, and could distinguish b

Nearly all smartphones will have touchscreens by 2016

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Touch Screen PhonesTouchscreens can claim as much credit for the booming success of smartphones as can 3G data speeds. In the time prior to the launch of the original iPhone, smartphones with touchscreens have gone from 7% of the total smartphone volume in 2006 to 75% in 2010, and were a key driver to the market growing more than 325% over that period.

Over the next five years, touchscreens will be as pervasive in smartphones as Wi-Fi chipsets are today, reaching 97% of all smartphones by 2016.

The screen is the point of fulfillment for all that a mobile device promises to deliver to its user, so there is little surprise in the impact it can have on its success. However, it was the evolution of screen and touch technologies that triggered the market’s rapid growth. The more economical resistive touch technology has been almost universally replaced in smartphones with the more elegant projected capacitive technology that was first introduced in mobile phones through the iPhone.

Screen and touch technologies continue to evolve and are starting to reshape the markets for other classes of mobile devices. “Low-cost capacitive touch controllers that use just a single layer of sensors instead of two, and save as much as 30% on the cost, are opening the market for lower-end feature phones.

EReaders also getting touch screens

And eReaders, which are the most fragmented device category in both display and touch technology, now have options that not only enable finger touch, but are at a cost that could standardize the segment’s displays,” says Kevin Burden, vice president, mobile devices.

ABI Research’s new report “Mobile Displays and Touchscreens”  studies the emerging display and touchscreen technologies targeted at smartphones, handsets, eReaders, media tablets, and PNDs. It examines the use of competing technologies such as EMR, ERT, resistive, capacitive, and SAW and takes the pulse of those technologies still in lab development. It provides unit shipments and attach rates by technology and region across the various mobile device segments.