A prototype device from Microsoft potentially could enable people to interact with a touchscreen smartphone without removing it from its case, a pocket, or bag.
Microsoft says it has mounted a custom, multitouch capacitive sensor on the back of a smartphone for the prototype, which is called PocketTouch.
"Think of when you try to reach through your pocket to the slider that silences your phone," says Microsoft researcher Scott Saponas. "We wanted to take a different spin by asking: Can we use a higher-bandwidth touch surface to provide a wider range of actual input?"
A key feature is PocketTouch's ability to determine which direction the user is reaching for the phone, considering it can be placed in a pocket or bag upside down, sideways, or diagonally, and users cannot see which way it is facing when they start interacting with it through fabric. People would be able to interact with PocketTouch through a variety of fabrics, including jackets and heavy fleece.
The researchers say that PocketTouch would be useful for people who live in colder climates or businesspeople who need to silence their phones during meetings.
From PC World
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