Let’s face it; touchscreens are taking over. Smartphones, personal media players, and even HDTV remote controls are now using touchscreens. The advantages are obvious; instead of being limited to pre-defined functions for specific buttons and other controls, a touchscreen can display an infinite number of choices, and lets you respond with touchs and gestures for greater control.
Most of these devices now use a “capacitive touch” technology that is much better than the traditional pressure-sensitive approaches because it is more durable and can provide a more accurate response to input. But there’s a problem; it only can detect the presence of an object that can conduct electricity. This is why these screens will work when you touch it with your finger, but not with your fingernail or when you’re wearing gloves.
That’s why Hitachi Displays has been working to develop a capacitive touch screen that can also detect the presence of an insulator: something that does not conduct electricity. This means that you can wear gloves or use a simple plastic stylus to register inputs on the screen, or your fingertip as you would do now. The company already supports two- and three-point multi-touch capabilities, and has started providing sample panels to manufacturers.
So for those of you who are saving energy by keeping the thermostat down in the winter, you may be able to keep your gloves on as you use your new touchscreen remote control for your home entertainment system.