Touchscreen Technology Are Only Meant To Be Used With Smartphones And Tablets?

English: Touchscreen

Image via Wikipedia

Whenever I refer to touchscreen technology in this article/post, I mean to include multi-touch and other touchscreen technologies (whether that be hardware or software).

Ah, touchscreen, my newfound love… Not so much if you’re making me touching you vertically!  Giggle!  You see, touch technology is great when you use it horizontally.  By that I mean holding it horizontally or lying it flat down on a table or so, but you have to breathe over it!  It does feel super awkward to touch a screen vertically, and even if the screen such as laptop screen is close enough to your face.

One thing I do know, to reach for a touchscreen vertically, you have to put your one or two fingers that do the touching in vertical position which might not feel so comfy to some people.  I know I won’t like it!  It sure feels like you have to overwork your whole arm just to make your fingers position in vertical position, right?

With that observation, I think besides tablets and smartphones, I don’t see how other hardware or software can convince people to popularize touchscreen.  Of course, I don’t have a magical crystal ball, therefore I won’t know my suspicion will come true or not.  Still, I feel compelling enough that I might be right!

So, is there any hope for touchscreen technology that aren’t fit into the types of portable devices such as tablets and smartphones (not laptops — unless laptops can be fold into tablet-like shape)?  Not from my suspicion, but I think vertical screen displays will have better luck with gesture recognition technology.  Kinect anyone?

Nonetheless, even with gesture recognition technology, it still feels as if there is something missing.  We know gesture recognition technology is a step-up for computing technology in general, but as now it feels sluggish and not so natural to use — after all when using regular keyboard and mouse and trackpad can be more efficient and faster.  I guess when they improve the gesture recognition technology even more in the near future, maybe then people might prefer to use gesture recognition technology over the traditional means.

In conclusion, my personal experiences with touchscreen technology (i.e., multi-touch) and gesture recognition technology (i.e., Kinect) tell me that these technology might be only useful when they are specialized.  So, in a way touchscreen technology can be used best with tablets and smartphones and the likes, but not otherwise.  Vertical displays might be best with the traditional means such as keyboards and mouse, but special circumstances such as using super huge displays from a distance might be perfect for gesture recognition technology.  This is why I don’t think mouse, keyboard, and trackpad will go away anytime soon.

Technology To Bring Touch Sensor To Digital World Through Touchscreen Surfaces

Oh boy, soon we will be able to feel whatever machines want us to feel!  The researchers of EPFL’s Integrated Actuators Laboratory (LAI) in Neuchâtel in Switzerland come up with a technology which allows electronic devices to manipulate the layer of air between your fingertips and the electronic devices’ surfaces, allowing people to feel whatever surfaces the electronic devices’ touchscreen technology or some sort of touch surface technology is designed to mimic.

It’s not yet clear but I suspect that such electronic devices that utilize this technology might be able to have touchscreen surfaces mimic whatever materials on the wimp of software.  So, imagine one can download an app on iPhone to have iPhone touchscreen mimics and projects a sort of surface/material which closely correlates the digital images (i.e., photos).  It sounds so science fiction, isn’t it?

If this technology can present a photo of a flower to a user in a way that a user can feel the photo of a flower as if he or she is touching a real flower, then it will be one hot technology for sure.  Otherwise, I can still see the awesomeness of this technology, but I won’t be as happy as in the case of actually being able to feel the digital image as if it is a real thing.  I guess, it’s human nature for us to want more than less, and so I end this post with a link to YouTube‘s video which delves into this technology in details.


DIY: Touchscreen Table The Maximum PC Style

Since iPhone became huge, touchscreen devices are everywhere and people are no longer surprise to see them anymore.  Albeit, people are still wondering how these touchscreen devices are able to allow them to interact with the devices themselves by touching, but the magic behind the technology is only a curiosity and not a priority.  Using the devices themselves in magical ways is more of a priority than anything else for most people.  Nonetheless, there are folks out there who are more curious of how the magic of touchscreen devices actually works.  Obviously, to some people, the magic is easy to understand and replicate, but to some people it’s a black magic which cannot be easily cracked.  Perhaps, I’m one of those folks who considers the magic behind touchscreen devices a black magic which cannot be easily cracked.  Luckily, revisiting a Maximum PC’s older article “Build Your Own Multitouch Surface Computer,” even the black magic of touchscreen devices can somewhat no longer hide the particular voodoo mechanism so secretly as before, admittedly that each touchscreen device might use a slightly different magic to achieve a similar or exact miracle.

Obviously, only the hardy explorers are willing to get their hands dirty by trying to follow the instructions within Maximum PC’s article and recreate a replica of the touchscreen table that the article had described; us easy going folks who do not have the tenacity of the hardy explorers probably are more than happy just to understand or have a glimpse into the voodoo mechanism of the touchscreen devices.  It’s still though a lot nicer for one to actually have a hands-on experience of how to make a touchscreen table or something similar.  Personally, I may want to participate such a project or do it myself kind of thing for a certain touchscreen device someday, but no promise whatsoever.  How about you?  That Maximum PC’s article is a very good starting point for whoever wants to create a custom touchscreen device or something similar.

Check out the video of a demonstration of the touchscreen table that Maximum PC’s staffs had created right after the break.  Just a head up though, the touch screen environment which demonstrates by Maximum PC’s staff/tech within the video below might be already outdated, but heading over to might point you in a more up to date direction in term of do it yourself touchscreen environment/devices.

Touchscreen Devices Are Modern In Popularity Only

While watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, I couldn’t hep but noticed that there were touchscreen devices in the show.  Of course, some of us nowadays would not know or would not remember when touchscreen was invented.  So, many of us or some of us are assuming touchscreen devices are the stuffs of today.  Unfortunately, in fact, even before the time of Star Trek: The Next Generation show, touchscreen was invented already.  In fact, the technology was used for businesses in the late 70s and onward, I think!

According to, the first true touchscreen device was invented in 1977 by Sam Hurst and Elographics which had transparent surface.  With that piece of information, I’m truly sure now that touchscreen devices weren’t modern!  Touchscreen devices got the modern feels thanked to Apple, because Apple released everything touchscreen smart phone which known as iPhone in 2007.  Acknowledged that we had seen Microsoft brought touchscreen to the market before Apple, but Microsoft did not deserve to be credited with the fast growing popularity of touchscreen devices.  Apple’s iPhone had done the trick!

Nowadays, we see more touchscreen devices than ever before, and some of us unknowingly think that the technology is rather new.  Perhaps, I’m one of them, too!  Anyhow, the truth is that touchscreen isn’t new, but it’s rather more relevant to many of us today than our parents’ time.  With that said, let me go back to my Star Trek show!  Beaming out…

Update:  I dug around the Internet after I finished my first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and I stumbled onto a cool article on which mentioned of Pascal vd Heiden’s Star Trek touchscreen graphical user interface design on a custom touchscreen monitor/device.  You can watch the video of this right after the break: