Last week i was visiting the IFA fair on its last day. All in all it must have been heaven for electronics sales people, since every big player on the market was showing off his newest gadgets. Yet for the consumer, unless he or she is a total computer/mobiledevice/hifi-nerd, it was quite boring. After the second Soccerfield-sized hall filled either with HDTV Sets or Mobile Phones that serve you a cold drink after reading your thoughts, i just wanted to go home.
But then i entered the PHILIPS stand and was surprised by their concepts which were the only futuristic and innovative things i saw that day.
not only were they showing their new technology photonic textiles in form of t-shirts with embedded color displays and a couch that showed the time,
but also a soon to be mass-produced prototype of a MULTITOUCH SCREEN. At the moment they are planning to use it for computer-aided boardgames in pubs and other places of communication; they see the strength in making computer games more collaborative, but i am sure that their “lifestyle incubator” lab will soon discover the endless possibilities of such an object.
see a short video on YouTube
at the stand, they were willing to talk a little about the technology: the screen is a LCD screen, as such high resolution, flat and bright. the touch sensing system recognizes objects as small as a childs fingertip, but they are working on an even higher resolution. up to 45 Objects can be tracked at a time, which in my opinion is sufficient for most of the interaction techniques i can imagine, including combined tile/finger types.
the tracking is done by a secret combination of IR LEDs and Photodiodes (sounds like “array of light barriers” to me) and daylight-suitable.
Philips seems to be a good place to work at.