Due to its ubiquity, the touchscreen is a piece of technology we seem to really take for granted nowadays. They’re everywhere, but how do they work? The simple explanation is that the touch surface carries a small electrical charge, and by disrupting that charge with the touch of your finger upon that surface, a computer can figure out where you’ve touched by checking where charge has been lost.
This technology is evolving and getting more precise everyday, and now we’re nearing the point where we can turn just about anything into a touch-sensitive device. Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have figured out how to turn virtually any object into a touchscreen using conductive spray paint (via Gizmodo).
The new technology, called Electrick, works very much like the type of touchscreen you’re used to does. All you have to do is coat an object with the conductive spray paint, allow those surfaces to conduct a small amount of electricity (via a process called electric field tomography), and electrodes placed around the surface’s edges will be able to detect when and were your finger has disrupted the charge. This method isn’t quite as accurate as your phone’s touchscreen, but scientists have tested the technique on a guitar and a brain made of Jell-O and found that it can locate a finger accurate to within a centimeter.
This technology is still very new, but it seems like the possibilities are endless. What sort of applications can you think of using Elecktrick for? Let us speculate about our new sci-fi future in the comments below.
Featured Image: Future Interfaces Group/YouTube