One of the biggest problems with touchscreen devices — and mobile devices in general — is that you keep them in your pocket, but they’re constantly alerting you to things that require you to take them out of your pocket. I know, I know, first world problems. Still, if someone could just create a mechanism by which one could interact with their touchscreen device via a series of simple gestures through the fabric of one’s pants or jacket, that’d be pretty cool, right? Microsoft is working on it.
The PocketTouch uses a custom sensor placed on the back of a smartphone that can detect multitouch strokes through a variety of fabrics. In order to enable the touch function, the user first uses an unlock swipe which serves not only to unlock the PocketTouch functionality but also to tell the phone which way is up, so that it doesn’t have to be sitting in your pocket in any particular way.
Clearly, the technology is only in a prototype phase and there’s no word if or when it might actually come to the market. That aside, the progress seems to be going pretty well if the footage Microsoft has released is any indication, although, it is questionable how acceptable constantly stroking yourself in public or a meeting may be in practice. As cool as this looks, I’m still grappling with the problem that, sometimes, my device will already accept touch input through fabric, usually touch input from my leg. Can someone fix that?
You can read the Microsoft article on the technology here.
- Of course, some would argue we should just be less attached to our phones
- Tactile pixels may make sightless touchscreen navigation easier in the future
- There’s no way you could fit this giant, military tablet in a pocket