Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Thin Film Transforms Any Surface Into Touchscreen

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the peel-and-stick dept.

Input Devices 81

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."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

good (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#37434916)

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

Millimeters thick? (0)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 3 years ago | (#37434924)

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

Re:Millimeters thick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435006)

I was thinking the same thing

Re:Millimeters thick? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435014)

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

Re:Millimeters thick? (1)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435024)

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.

Re:Millimeters thick? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435092)

It's actually as thin as a sheet of paper, you can just about make out the wires if you look closely, their first generation stuff acted just like a HID device and mimicked the mouse (using the scroll wheel in an attempt to mimic multi-touch) whereas their latest version is real multi touch so i'd guess same film but updated controller and OS driver but the same film Ive used.

Re:Millimeters thick? (3)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Re:Millimeters thick? (1)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435750)

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.

Re:Millimeters thick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37438070)

Slashdot. Where you can always find a cynical nerd with no personal achievements just waiting to trash your product.

What have you invented lately?

Re:Millimeters thick? (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435982)

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

Re:Millimeters thick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37439090)

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?

A credit card is something like 0.76mm thick. While the thin film in question is no doubt much more flexible than credit card material, it's still pretty thick.

Consider typical flex circuits: for example, the connector between a laptop computer's keyboard and motherboard. That item is probably about 0.10mm in thickness. You'd be hard-pressed to find even multilayer flex circuits with a nominal thickness of as much 0.5mm; polyimide doesn't "flex" very much once it gets thicker than that. Polyimide with a thickness of 0.76mm (credit card thickness) would be stiff indeed.

Re:Millimeters thick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435764)

"...any film above 1mm in thickness would be pretty hard to roll..."

Exactly, I would call it a carpet if it's several millimeters thick.
I guess the poster comes from an Empire.

millimeters, eh? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37434926)

don't you think that's rather thick?

Re:millimeters, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435616)

Why don't you do better?

Massage (0)

RJFerret (1279530) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435028)

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...

Re:Massage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435090)

Because you rather play a videogame then massage a girl?

Re:Massage (3, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435410)

Depends on the game, and the girl.

Re:Massage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37436668)

giving a massage is boring, but the blow-job that cum after is not.....

Re:Massage (1)

brantondaveperson (1023687) | more than 3 years ago | (#37448904)

and they say romance is dead.

Re:Massage (3, Informative)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435116)

FYI, the interesting topography is supposed to be on the other side.

Also, you can't give a good massage with just light touching with your fingertips.

Re:Massage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37440912)

As a massage therapist with over 8 years of experience, I'll have to disagree. Light touch can be very powerful and therapeutic. http://paulbrown.net

Re:Massage (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 3 years ago | (#37441588)

Obviously it's a virtual massage-based game.

Re:Massage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435180)

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...

Actually a brilliant idea for a game! The better you are at it, the more you would get paid, or presumably get new friends.

Re:Massage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435220)

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...

Wow! You are either the supreme geek of the universe, under 11 or over 70. Query: If you're using her back as a game control interface, what has the size of her breasts have to do with it (bragging rights or a better ergonomic angle)?

Re:Massage (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435260)

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...

If it'll fit a 167 inch widescreen I'm sure it'll fit your girlfriend too...
- Sorry, but you had that one coming :)

Re:Massage (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435864)

"Call me back when you can roll it out on a non-flat girl's back..."

I prefer flat girls.

They're easier to pack away when you're finished with them, too.

(Good God man, learn to fucking massage).

Re:Massage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37444226)

What with all these fancy new interfaces, sometimes a good old joystick is still the best.

Spray-on-Mouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435030)

I have waited for that life altering experience for so long..

I got an idea... (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435032)

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

Re:I got an idea... (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435376)

Then you have to factor in the cost of accessories.

Re:I got an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37436328)

From first-hand experience, touching breasts with your bare hands beats any touchscreen. You should try it some day.

Re:I got an idea... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37436432)

I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:I got an idea... (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#37445252)

I find your ideas intriguing and would like to discuss them with your girlfriend...or mother...

FTFY.

Where are my icons? (2)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435036)

Oh, no! Gone with the wind!

Tube-shaped interactive touch surface (0)

Legal.Troll (2002574) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435040)

I logged in just to write that subject line.

fuck that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435042)

just give me a cheap cost like say $20 to turn my 24 inch monitor into a touchscreen with a bog standard usb power connector which emulates a usb mouse and i'll buy one. oh wait ? they cant ? it costs thousands of dollars for these at reasonable sizes ? touch screen monitors are cheaper ? too bad. next!

Re:fuck that. (2)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435338)

It's the first step towards being able to provide them as cheap prices.

Re:fuck that. (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#37437048)

Yeah that is what they said with holographic discs and I still haven't seen anyone offer one of those at anything less than truly insane prices. just because you can build something for X doesn't mean you'll be able to build something for Y, sometimes things just don't scale. I bet being nanowire it is a royal PITA to deal with and automation when it comes to wires that tiny probably won't be easy.

Remember they thought the same would happen with core memory too, but by the time they found a way to produce it completely by automation it was obsolete. So while I wish them nothing but luck, as I wouldn't mind a cheap touchscreen for my little netbook, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Prices anyone? (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435082)

If this is reasonably affordable I'll stop looking for a development machine with a touch interface and just buy this for my hdtv.

Developer on a HDTV? Please!!!!! (1)

Platinumrat (1166135) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435886)

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?

Re:Developer on a HDTV? Please!!!!! (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | more than 3 years ago | (#37436194)

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 assume people have money to spend, did you miss that part as well? It's seems the only thing you saw was hdtv and then you just mentally vomitted.

Re:Developer on a HDTV? Please!!!!! (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 3 years ago | (#37436430)

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

Re:Developer on a HDTV? Please!!!!! (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | more than 3 years ago | (#37436884)

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.

Re:Developer on a HDTV? Please!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37438662)

once you go 2560x1440 or up, dual screen seems like a band-aid which we had to use because High definition screen were/are still expensive. I for one rejoice when I don't see 2 wasteful borders in my most precious view angle. Let's not even get started with vertical space.

Come again? (1)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435106)

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.

Re:Come again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435134)

TIL plastic with hair thin wires criss crossing it

Re:Come again? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435330)

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

Has anyone read Saturn's Race ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435144)

Laminate this onto tabletops and make the entire boardroom table a surface for spying.

Can you see this being applied to computer smartphones and tablets to create the ultimate sharing/hacker tool. If they can build one with OCR or image caputure (see Saturn's Race by Larry Niven as an example of what I'm talking about), nobody's safe any anymore.

Android Skin (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435146)

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

Thin Film Transforms Any SCREEN Into Touchscreen (2)

aglider (2435074) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435192)

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

Re:Thin Film Transforms Any SCREEN Into Touchscree (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435882)

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

Re:Thin Film Transforms Any SCREEN Into Touchscree (1)

aglider (2435074) | more than 3 years ago | (#37439590)

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.

Re:Thin Film Transforms Any SCREEN Into Touchscree (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 3 years ago | (#37451540)

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

Re:Thin Film Transforms Any SCREEN Into Touchscree (1)

aglider (2435074) | more than 3 years ago | (#37455382)

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

Waiting for it... (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435198)

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

Re:Waiting for it... (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 3 years ago | (#37436442)

Mod parent up!

Of course, I prefer restive(at least, the one in my N900 is great).

And with this... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435352)

Porn will never be the same!

Touch me here.

Re:And with this... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#37437712)

iSlut!

I seem to recall .... (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#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!

Re:I seem to recall .... (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435618)

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...

Re:I seem to recall .... (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#37442436)

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).

For certain values of "thin" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435508)

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.

And like the 3M film.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435712)

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.

Great component if the price is right (2)

Yoik (955095) | more than 3 years ago | (#37435720)

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?

Robot skin (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435798)

sounds like it would make great robot skin

Without a screen underneath? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37435884)

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 they can make this thing completely transparent, its not actually as useful as it might first seem.

This is an INPUT device (2)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:This is an INPUT device (1)

ldbapp (1316555) | more than 3 years ago | (#37437260)

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.

Re:This is an INPUT device (1)

benthurston27 (1220268) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488426)

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.

Re:This is an INPUT device (1)

Reelin (2447528) | more than 3 years ago | (#37437300)

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]

Two fingers is not multitouch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37437146)

Their "multitouch" product goes up to 60" diagonal, and supports two simultaneous finger touches.

Not exactly the same as a MS Surface or NUI experience.

Best use for large touch sensitive film? (1)

lpt1 (46613) | more than 3 years ago | (#37438210)

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

Sell as "DanceDance DoorLock".

Profit!!!

Perfect for ATM skimmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37438584)

Stick this transparent thin film on an ATM keypad and you won't need a camera anymore. Covering your fingers as you type in your pin is not going to help either.

Re:Perfect for ATM skimmers (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#37442910)

Easily prevented via some hardware and software. Don't use a separate telephone-style keypad for the PIN entry - display it on the touchscreen. Randomly scramble the digits in the keypad before each digit is entered and cover the screen with a privacy film so that it has a relatively small viewing angle.

Isn't this old news? (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | more than 3 years ago | (#37438724)

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

Re:Isn't this old news? (1)

mamas (468872) | more than 3 years ago | (#37439214)

Is is. Even from the article itself...:

"That’s impressive, but it’s also old news. Visual Planet has been installing these films for years. If you’ve read Singularity Hub regularly (which causes much less brain cancer than you would think) you may remember our earlier coverage of Displax. The Portuguese company did many of the same demonstrations. That makes sense as they were one of Visual Planet’s partners. There are true competitors, however. 3M has had a similar technology for years, and as you get into smaller sizes the number of available solutions skyrockets."

Just in time for Windows 8 (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 3 years ago | (#37439570)

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.

So my touchescreen is my 60 inch? (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#37439818)

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?

Re:So my touchescreen is my 60 inch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37442416)

Everything you want to know about a href="http://ssidisplays.com/touch-foil">touch foil can be found here

There are two kinds of people in the world (1)

whitroth (9367) | more than 3 years ago | (#37443862)

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!"

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?