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Input Devices Technology

Thin Film Transforms Any Surface Into Touchscreen 81

Posted by samzenpus
from the peel-and-stick dept.
kkleiner writes "Open up a cardboard tube, roll out a transparent film just millimeters thick, apply it on a flat object and *tada* you've got an interactive touch surface. Cambridge-based Visual Planet just launched its new massive-sized multitouch thin film drivers so you can create touchscreens from 30 to 167 inches in size! Their touchfoil is a transparent nanowire embedded polymer capable of sensing the touch of a finger, or even pressure from wind and translating that to a computer interface. It works on glass, wood, and other non-conductive surfaces."
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Thin Film Transforms Any Surface Into Touchscreen

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  • by Osgeld (1900440)

    I am so sick of that thin film touchscreen on glass (or other non conductive material) technology we have now

  • I would imagine any film above 1mm in thickness would be pretty hard to roll up into anything resembling a reasonable diameter.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      30 to 167 inches. I guess it means like the dash of your car.

      I hope they release solid drivers for the stuff too eh eh

    • You're probably okay if you roll it more like a toric prism with sufficiently large inner radius, rather than trying to approximate a cylinder.
    • by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @02:34PM (#37435264)

      Um, last I checked a millimeter is pretty small. I can roll up all sorts of things to a reasonably thin degree which are much thicker than that(including one of those schnazzy silicone gel keyboard things).

      It's a transparent flexible touch surface...and you're complaining because it's as thick as card stock?

      • by msgmonkey (599753)

        Um, last I checked a millimeter is pretty small. I can roll up all sorts of things to a reasonably thin degree which are much thicker than that(including one of those schnazzy silicone gel keyboard things).

        It's a transparent flexible touch surface...and you're complaining because it's as thick as card stock?

        Even 0.5mm overhead projector film is pretty hard stuff, silicon gel is very low density compared to plastic films as is card. I would expect a rolled diameter to be around 25-30cm which is fine for the 167", but a bit much for the small 30" versions.

      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        It might be thin or thick or whatever you want but it ain't a 'thin film'

        "A thin film is a layer of material ranging from fractions of a nanometer (monolayer) to several micrometers in thickness. "
        WP

  • millimeters, eh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    don't you think that's rather thick?

  • Call me back when you can roll it out on a non-flat girl's back, play a video game for a half hour or an hour, and have her believe you just gave her a massage...

  • Put it on women's bras for the ultimate "touchscreen interface".

  • by CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @01:43PM (#37435036) Journal
    Oh, no! Gone with the wind!
  • If this is reasonably affordable I'll stop looking for a development machine with a touch interface and just buy this for my hdtv.
    • And what resolution is your HDTV... 1920x1080?

      It annoys me that people think HDTV is good. In fact as far as DPI resolution goes, they're pretty much in the suckage range. My 5-6 year old Dell laptop has a 1920x1200 resolution 17" monitor.

      ... and btw: How do you sit two TVs next to each other. Really, what developer only uses one monitor nowadays?

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        What does resolution have to do with development? If you can't fit a complete block of code even on 1280x720 you're doing something wrong. As well, I'm doing development of a touch interface, hence why i'm looking for a touch interface, could you not read that?

        Now what's really good about my hdtv is that I already own it. Is dpi everything? No, i have an n900 woth a 3.5" display at 800x600, is that going to be iseful for development?

        What annoys me are people who can't read then go on rants and just as

        • N900's 800x480, actually...
          Thyat being said, I *do* use it for development, at least tweaking bits of code on the fly with VIM.

          But I, for one, would *love* a 200-dpi(N900 is ~230, regular monitor ~100), 20' or so monitor, because it would mean you could use anti-alised fonts and such without it looking blurry and odd. It'd also reduce the need for AA in games, though the total number of rendered pixels would make up for that.

          Posted from my N900. :P

          • by Jmc23 (2353706)
            Well, you know how great slashdots editing feature is. Truth be told i do use mine to test out snippets of scheme. What language are you using it for? I havem't really checked around but i wouldn't mind getting some c/c++/java development on it for when I'm bored at least enough to work out some codechef etc... problems.

            what i would relove are lisp bindings for android on my tablet.I haven't been able to get anything done since my laptop died.

  • Their touchfoil is a transparent nanowire embedded polymer

    You what? Sounds like someone went a bit OTT with the copy and pasting of big words.
    • by Threni (635302)

      A polymer, which has nanowires embedded within it? Doesn't sound *that* complicated...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When can we use that as a skin for robotic humanoids?

  • You cannot transform anything into a touchscreen, if it's not a screen!
    You insensitive clod!!!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Fortunately.. pretty much any physical object is a screen. Some are better at it than others, to be sure.

      • by aglider (2435074)

        I wonder how can you display, say, your favorite holiday pictures on a cardboard box and then have it the touch stuff to zoom that in and out ...
        Or how can you do the same on a window ... the real glassy ones I mean.
        No, you can only transform screens (in the sense of "device to display pictures and text") into touchscreens.

    • by CityZen (464761)

      Well, it's a two-step process, and here they are only describing step 2.
      Other folks are indeed working on step 1, though.

      • by aglider (2435074)

        Neat, indeed!
        There's also step no.3 to have anything transmitting on GSM/3G and step no.4 to make anything an iPhone.

  • Someone's going to come along and complain "ugh, resistive? If it's not capacitive it's crap!" any time now...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Porn will never be the same!

    Touch me here.

  • by PPH (736903) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @03:30PM (#37435482)

    ... touch screen kits available about 15 years ago. Flexible transparent plastic film that one could stick to a monitor (or whatever) with logic to emulate a mouse (serial back then IIRC). Maybe a hundred bucks or so to do a 12 or 14 inch monitor. No big deal.

    They were great out on the shop floor. Some of the mechanics were in the habit of using (pointy, sharp) tools to tap touch screens. So anything that could be peeled off and replaced without having to scrap an entire CRT was great. Yeah, CRT. Get over it, kid. And get off my lawn!

    • by MoonBuggy (611105)

      Some of the mechanics were in the habit of using (pointy, sharp) tools to tap touch screens. So anything that could be peeled off and replaced without having to scrap an entire CRT was great.

      There's always the BOFH solution - stick with integrated touchscreens, and explain to the mechanics that any one of your CRTs rendered useless will be dropped from a significant height onto one of their precision tools...

    • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

      Maybe a hundred bucks or so to do a 12 or 14 inch monitor. No big deal.

      Hehe, no "big" deal indeed. Now try that with a 14 foot display (~167 inch, the upper end of this stuff's range).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm just a simple rural engineer, but round these parts we tend to use "thin" to imply something of negligible thickness, not several milla-meters like you fancy city folk.

  • It will be obscenely expensive...

    I have been trying to get something in the reasonable price range to make a 42" touchscreen for a while now. all of it is in anal raping price ranges.

  • This looks like a great component for lots of hobby projects if it is cheap enough for the purpose. If I could get a single touch that I could make an Arduino interface for at less than $30 I can think of a dozen one-of projects right now. Great science / maker faire signs, wall art, board games, etc.. At $300 they won't sell many. Anyone know the price?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    sounds like it would make great robot skin

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Without some sort of screen/display underneath, how will you know where the 'buttons'/areas are that you want to touch? Unless those buttons/controls are static and constant, in which case physical buttons/switches are probably a better solution.

    And just how transparent is this film? I'd love nothing more than to turn my 42" plasma panel in my living room into a touch panel (just for coolness factor if nothing else) but will I still be able to enjoy watching movies with this film stuck to my TV? Unless t

  • by tmosley (996283) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @04:42PM (#37435916)
    This appears to simply be an input device that is rolled out over an existing screen. Kind of neat, but not exactly worldchanging, and quite far from "transforming ANY surface into a touchscreen device". It might be able to record inputs, but the user would get no feedback without a screen or something like that.

    If this was a DISPLAY that thin, then this would be groundbreaking.
    • by ldbapp (1316555)
      Actually, you don't need a screen, but if you stretch your definition of "something like that" you're on the right track. We have lots of input devices that don't have screens attached: doorknobs, handles, tuning knobs, buttons, switches, pedals. This could be imagined as an alternative to all of them. Put it on a piece of glass and you have an input device that lets painters "trace" pictures from real life, just like the renaissance masters.
      • I was thinking you could put it over a picture of a keyboard, or over a picture of various controls like slider looking things and so on.
    • by Reelin (2447528)

      If this was a DISPLAY that thin, then this would be groundbreaking.

      Where have you been? From WP:

      In May 2007, Sony publicly unveiled a video of a 2.5-inch flexible OLED screen which is only 0.3 millimeters thick.[102] At the Display 2008 exhibition, Sony demonstrated a 0.2 mm thick 3.5 inch display with a resolution of 320×200 pixels and a 0.3 mm thick 11 inch display with 960×540 pixels resolution, one-tenth the thickness of the XEL-1.[103][104]

  • Apply to large square of plastic.
    Add small micro-controller, a couple of switches, and some minor programming.

    Sell as "DanceDance DoorLock".

    Profit!!!

  • I saw something similar demonstrated at CeBit [wikipedia.org] in 2008. It was made by a Chinese company, and they applied it to a bunch of HDTVs on the scene, and let us operated it minutes after applying it (using Vista's tablet features).

    Perhaps they didn't use nanotechnology, but it worked fine, so who cares what the underlying tech is?

    And it was certainly not "milimeters" thick. More like 1/4 of a milimeter.

    - Jesper
  • Now that Microsoft is trying to turn PCs into smart phones, everyone's going to need this to retrofit their monitors to make the UI usable, since it's completely unusable with a mouse and KB.

  • Does this work on any surface? I guess it would have to be a solid based surface , not a projector screen where you can actually foucs in and out the image, and change the x and y position by doing so?

  • Those who touch the screen and leave fingerprints all over it, and those of us who break those people's fingers.

                      mark "that's why there are keyboards!"

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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