Warmer Days Ahead: New Touchscreens Could Sense Gloved Hands


Winter is fast approaching, which means difficult choices ahead for iPhone users. The iPhone’s current touchscreen technology only reacts to bare skin; swipes from gloved fingers are ineffectual. So when you get that important call and you’re hurrying along the street in below-freezing weather, what do you do? Your love life, your job, your happiness could be at stake with that call–but your fingers are cold.

Forthcoming technology could make this tough choice a thing of the past. Patently Apple reports that the Japanese company Hitachi Displays is working on technology that would make a touchscreen capable of detecting plastic and cloth, and therefore could sense a gloved hand. (But would it also register in-your-pocket false positives, we wonder, sending garbled texts to your ex?)

Hitachi’s panels range from 3 to 10 inches, notes Patently Apple, making them nicely iPhone-sized–though it also notes that Apple itself isn’t signed up to license these yet, since the design remains at an early phase.

The development is welcome, but raises all sorts of new questions–about the questionable safety of using apps while downhill skiing, for instance.

[Image: Michael S Dorus]DZ