Will The Next Generation Smart Device Come From Disney?

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Image Credit: Disney Research

When one thinks of cool smart technology, it is usually associated with companies like Apple Inc. or Microsoft. However, the latest revolution seems to be emanating from a rather unusual company - Entertainment giant Disney. Touché, a new technology unveiled recently by the company's Pittsburgh-based research laboratory, is powerful enough to turn any object and even the human body, into a touch screen. Intrigued? Read on . . .

Think of Touché as a more advanced way to navigate around your smart device. For example, the current touch screen just responds to it being touched be it with one, two or five fingers. Touché on the other hand, recognizes different types of touches - a light flick of the finger can indicate one command, while a full grasp of the hand, can mean something different.

Photo Credit: Disney Research

What's even more amazing is that the technology can be taken outside the smart device world and used in everyday objects like a doorknob - Pinch it and it displays a message that you will be back in five minutes, grasp it firmly and it lets people know you are gone for the day and even, locks the door behind you.

Not impressed? How about this? Touché will allow you to program the sofa in your living room such that it will turn on the television and dim the lights as soon as you settle down. And, if you happen to fall asleep, it will even switch both off. The only thing it can't do (yet), is tuck you in!

While it may seem as though Disney waved its magical wand to make Touché, the technology built by Munehiko Sato, Ivan Poupyrev and Chris Harrison is based on brilliant research and engineering.

Image Credit: Disney Research

The scientists began with the capacitive sensors currently used in smart devices to detect electrical impulses from a finger touch and translate into action. They then modified them so that instead of one, the sensors are able to scan multiple electrical frequencies - each related to the nuances of a touch. For example, a light flick of a finger sends out a very different electrical impulse from a full hand grasping - Since Disney's Touché has the capability of recognizing the difference, it can be programmed to respond to each one. Then they went one step further and made it integratable with every possible object using just a single electrical wire connected to a controller that has a wired or wireless connection.

So what will Disney do with the technology? Nobody knows, since the company officials have not yet made up their minds. We sure hope they decide soon and sprinkle this magical technology into our everyday lives!

Resources:metro.co.uk,technologyreview.com

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