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The Future of Touch

By The Wall Street Journal

June 3, 2009



Next-generation touch technology currently in development promises to boast greater user-friendliness and intuitiveness, with Amtel's Chris Ard noting that "all the work is on improving the speed of devices, the reliability, and how they interact with humans." Developers are working on multitouch screen applications capable of processing the commands the user gives with more than one finger.

For example, France's Gameloft recently released a video game for the iPhone that allows users to control the characters' movements and view by using arc gestures on both sides of the screen. The game also has dual thumb controls, which Gameloft says accounts for the natural rotation of the thumb bone to enable the most comfortable and intuitive movements by the user. Another area of development is keyboards that execute certain functions in response to touch commands, and Tech21 Sensor in Germany is working on a product that should start being implemented in mobile phones in 2010 or 2011.

A third next-generation touch technology is mobile haptic feedback, and Immersion says that in the next nine months three mobile carriers will roll out applications it created that allow users to nonverbally relay emotions. For instance, to communicate frustration, the user can shake the phone, triggering a vibration felt by the other party. Developing a phone that can deliver a physical sensation based on the position of a finger on a touch screen is the next step, says Immersion's Craig Vachon.

From The Wall Street Journal
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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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