You Already Have A Touchscreen Phone - You Just Don't Know It

Ty Dunitz September 20 Mobile

Do you sometimes feel an unwarranted sense of telecommunication shame? Is your old, crappy flip phone making you an embarrassment to your friends and family? Well, if Input Dynamics has anything to say about it, you won’t have to for long.

Maybe you’ve heard of TouchDevice – but even if you have, I’m gonna tell you what’s up anyway. Though unfortunately named, the technology is pretty cool, using acoustic input to – get this – make non-touchscreen phones touchscreen phones.

Bizzare, yeah? Apparently, the software recognizes the acoustic patterns created by tapping different parts of the phone’s screen (and/or casing) and can emulate the functionality of a typical touchscreen interface.

“Our solution uses the audio signature (sound) generated by the user’s tap,” ID’s Mike Bradley tells Gizmag. “This is detected via the voice microphone and then statistically analyzed to determine the position by comparing it with a set of known templates.”

Currently, the software can detect a tap to within a square centimeter… and for that reason, I sure hope this isn’t ready for prime time just yet. I guess people with enormous fingers wouldn’t notice. Lucky me.

But it’s a pretty nifty start, for sure! Input Dynamics is even working on algorithms to detect the scratching of fingernails, to incorporate zooming and scrolling.

Ironically, though, according to Bradley, the first wave of this technology will, in fact, be for smartphones – to extend their touchscreen capabilities beyond the screen, and onto the casing itself, as well. This could lead to things like unobstructed scrolling (by stroking the back of your phone), among other things. Anyway you slice it, TouchDevice sounds like a pretty choice bit of tech.

But for Pete‘s sake – I finally, finally upgrade to a smartphone, and here we are, figuring out how to retrofit old phones with current-gen tech. Goddamnit, I wonder if the trash has been picked up yet this week. I’ve got some diving to do.

Written by Ty Dunitz

Ty is an illustrator who stays up too late, and has to wear glasses. You can follow him on Twitter if you want to (@glitchritual), but he's just gonna throw your stupid PR crap in the garbage, so don't email him.
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