You Can’t Touch This!

Touch is transforming our entertainment experience. Second-screen tablets and smartphones are programming our DVR services, delivering supplementary and interactive social content to linear programming, and becoming content delivery platforms in their own right. And while there still is a place for keyboard in this brave new world, touch interfaces are playing an increasingly-important role in how we interact most naturally and efficiently with some very complex systems.

How much do you know about touch technology? Do you know why you can wear gloves with some screens but not others? Do you know which approaches are better suited for multi-touch interfaces, and why?

I’ll grant that this stuff gets pretty propeller-headed in a hurry, but if you want to know more about this important technology, let me point you to an amazing resource. My friend and colleague Geoff Walker (currently Principal Analyst for Touch Research at IMS Research) has made an in-depth report on touch technology available for free to the public. His “Fundamentals of Touch Technologiesand Applications” is actually the 153-page Powerpoint slide deck for his four-hour training course that he has offered at the Society for Information Display (SID) annual conference. SID is the international association for display manufacturers, so this is the course that is taken by the folks who actually build your televisions, tablets, and smart phones. So this isn’t any lightweight summary. You’ll find a thorough, in-depth comparison of the many touch technologies available today, along with unvarnished and informed opinions about just what each is (and is not) good for.

Thanks for sharing this valuable resource, Geoff. I’m sure that a lot of people will understand touch technology a whole lot better, thanks to your generosity.