Ever wondered what’s next after capacitive touch ? The next gen of touch technology has arrived. Its Floating touch technology. It is introduced in the new Sony Xperia Sola, which will be launched soon. Floating touch technology will be a key to the sale of the phone.It will be the first of its type and is invented by Sony itself.
Unlike the other touchscreen phones, the Sola can sense when a finger is hovering over the screen even 20mm above the screen, not just when it’s made contact. This, possibly, could present some exciting new ways of interacting with touchscreens — for instance, the Sola’s browser will let users to float their finger over the screen like a cursor while selecting links.
So, how does this “magical” new technology works?
On the Sony’s mobile developer blog, Erik Hellman explains “Essentially, the Xperia Sola contains two types of capacitive sensor. There’s a mutual-capacitive sensor, used for multi-touch, and a self-capacitive sensor, which generates a stronger signal, allowing it to detect conductive objects (like your greasy paws) from further away. Self-capacitive sensors aren’t multi-touch capable, and mutual-capacitive sensors aren’t strong enough to detect objects at a distance, but if you combine both in a single screen, you get the best of both worlds , multi-touch when you’re touching the screen, and floating touch when you’re not.”
Explaining it further we have
As you all perhaps know, you need conductivity for your capacitive screen to work. In reality there are two types of display which vary in the strength of the signal they receive.
First, there are self-capacitance displays with good signal strength. They have the ability to detect your finger from 20mm, but have a limitation – they have no provision of multi touch.
Second, there are multi capacitive screens which work great with multi touch but in order to narrow down the precise position of each finger the signal strength is reduced, so they can’t register a finger hovering.
The Red crosses shows the “GHOSTING” effect
This is where Sony revolutionizes by bringing the two together in its “floating touch” display on the Sony Xperia sola. “By leveraging on the existing capacitive touch sensor, and lowering the threshold for touch registration, it will be possible to differentiate between floating touch and “normal touch”,” Sony explains.
Here are some highlighting features of floating touch:-
- It lets you interact with your phone by floating a finger over the display.
- It lets your phone sense your finger up to 20mm above the screen and it can detect finger’s X/Y co-ordinates, as well as its distance from the screen.
- When a finger is close to the electrodes, the capacitance changes and is measured to locate your finger.
- All Android apps will work flawlessly, just like before, and only the apps that explicitly “listen” for floating touch actions will react to them.
Though to make use of this fantastic technology, the apps will have to support it. So far, Sony is supporting floating touch in the browser and the live wallpapers, and that’s about it. Sony assured to open up APIs for developers with the upgrade to ICS for the Xperia sola. We are trying to get a hand on it; as soon as we get it we will demonstrate a video.