Wednesday, September 14, 2005
"The Touch Screen That Touches Back" (or how DaveHimself is affected by technological advances.)
This post is not so much about the pictured touch-screen as it is about how a geek like me reacts to advancements like this. Stop now and ask yourself what you thought about this new technology as you read. Maybe it was something along the lines of "That's cool, I guess" right? Well when I read it I said "holy crap that is amazing." Not because its hard to do though I am sure it ain't easy. It's that its an amazing and thought provoking advancement in the exchange of information. Since the invention of the CRT in 1897 (if you count plain old indicator lights even earlier) we have been looking to bits of light for info for over 100 years. We have since added millions of lights, color, and animation, but until now the info has only been addressed to one of our senses. Even when we started touching the screens we simply aimed for what we saw. Now a second sense, touch, has been added to the information that "leaves" a screen.
The next phase of a geek's reaction to this is to imagine all of the uses of the new technology. At first glance applications should seem scarce. That is normal, the tech is brand new, but you just keep thinking and things start popping into your head. First the obvious ones. When you push the right button you can feel a friendly "buzz" and when you push the wrong button you get an annoyed "thump." What makes a buzz "right" and a thump "wrong" you ask? Why the manufacturer thats who. The same way the guys who make your computers and your operating systems decided "bing" means correct, yes and finished. While "bong" means incorrect, not allowed or uh-oh.
So now your mind is racing, just what is this tactile feedback really capable of. Could it make touch-screen use accessible to the blind. Could it eliminate all that damn boop boop beep beep you hear while waiting inline at the "cash ma-scene." Hey, there's another benefit, button feedback helps the deaf. (When we push the wrong key we get "bonk," but they don't.) A DJ unit could send the beats per minute to your finger when your ears are busy. Eventually I would say we will get a whole lot of info coming thru our screens and into our fingertips. Don't believe me? Ask video gamers how important "force feedback" is in the games they play and just how much information is relayed to their sense of touch via their "Dual Shock Controllers."
This post was inspired by this story in: Gizmag
((it is also where the picture was stolen)