Technology based on vibration turns any solid surface into a touch screen





The culmination of four years of work of the research team from Nanyang Technological University (Chief Technological University of Singapore) was the invention of a technology that allows you to turn almost any surface, be it wood, glass, aluminum, steel and even plastic, in a very cheap multi-touch panel. Technology called STATINA (or Speech Touch and Acoustic Tangible Interfaces for Next-generation Applications – «Zvukochuvstvitelnye acoustic material interfaces for next-generation applications”), and it is only a couple of years before the moment that will go into mass production.

STATINA proposes the use of cheap vibration sensors, webcams and specially written calculation algorithm, which together will determine the starting point of the user’s finger touches the surface. When using a web camera system accuracy is increased, and it can track the movement of several fingers over the surface.

“The technology is based on the principle of surface hardness. The system operates at most hard surfaces such as wood, aluminum, glass and plastic. In each case, requires only a small calibration. In the laboratory tests on all these surfaces were successful, “- says Professor Andy Kong, the head of development.


“If you only use vibration sensors, the system will not work on surfaces such as concrete, as in this case, the vibration will be spread over the entire working area. But adding a video camera, we can solve this problem. If you are using one vibration sensor positioning accuracy is about 1.5 cm, however, we have another program algorithm, which allows to increase the precision of up to 0.5 cm in the case of a camera with the maximum accuracy is improved and the error is only a couple of millimeters. ”


The number of sensors required for the operation depends on the area of ​​the working surface. For example, for a surface area equivalent to 50-inch screen, requires the presence of 12 vibration sensors, and two or three cheapest webcam. Going ahead, scientists say that the technology can be adapted perfectly to the already brought to market TV sets, making conventional screens in touch , which can then be used, for example, as an interactive billboards or large digital canvas for drawing, or various notes. However, the scientists believe that the potential of the technology goes much further: it allows you to turn any flat surface into a virtual desktop or game screen for a relatively low cost.


Kong said that his team is currently looking for a way to collect more compact system with improved response time. Engineer sure that the system is quite able to reach the mass market in the next two years.
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Tags: Vibration , Sensor technology .

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