Add this one to the list suggesting touchscreens will be everywhere in the future: A Portuguese company has announced a stick-on transparent plastic film with multitouch technology embedded inside that can make 9-foot displays.
Displax has much experience in display and touch sensing tech, but this one is damned exciting. It's dubbed "multitouch skin" and it's about 100 microns thin, and you can stick it to glass, wood, a pre-built display--pretty much any surface. Astonishingly it can create a multitouch surface between 7 inches and 9 feet diagonally.
It works differently to the similar-sounding flexible plastic touchscreen/e-ink display championed by Plastic Logic: Displax's screens have a fine array of wires embedded into the film, all connected up to a controller interface that is then hooked up to a PC--this machine would obviously also be responsible for driving a display mounted behind the transparent film. Though pricing hasn't been announced, it's likely to be comparatively cheap, and it can be retrofitted to displays unlike other touchscreen solutions that have to be designed-in.
It's capable of detecting up to 16 simultaneous touches on a 50-inch display, and that's the most promising feature of this technology. Because it can be applied to so many different surfaces, and allows for group interactions, it's pretty perfect for educational environments. Commercial products with the new system are due in July. Looking at Displax's promo pictures, we're also considering how screen displays could also turn into a sort of curving controller wall, something akin to those in Minority Report, and how that might translate into interactive advertising posters. Think of it as enabling giant Microsoft Surfaces that a whole classroom can interact with at once. When you look at the sort of unique applications that have been created for Surface, then the mind boggles at the capability that a 108-inch touchscreen could offer.