One doesn’t have to look very far these days to see the ever increasing prevalence and popularity of multi-touch technology and the additional interaction it offers the consumer. Opening up an even bigger world of potential interactive possibilities is Portuguese company Displax, which has announced the development of a “skin” that can turn virtually any surface into a multi-touch display.

Based on capacitive technology, the “skin” is developed on a thinner-than-paper polymer film that turns a surface, be it glass, plastic or wood, curved or flat, into an interactive touch screen display.

The technology works by a grid of nanowires placed throughout the film recognizing touch screen interactivity. These input signals are then passed to a microprocessor controller that analyzes the data and determines the exact location where the contact took place.

The hypersensitive lightweight “skin” features air movement detection as well as touch sensitivity, so will, for what is thought to be the first time, react to a user blowing on it, registering both the intensity and direction of the air flow.

So far the “skin” has a size dimension ranging from anywhere between seven inches and three full meters diagonally, and with a transparency rate of 98%, you can still see the surface underneath. At present a 50-inch display is able to detect up to sixteen fingers simultaneously.

While Displax initially began developing the multi-touch technology for use by manufacturers of LCD screens, the future potential uses are many and varied. Aside from audio visual integration through projection displays and enhanced gaming possibilities, the ability to cover bigger areas could see the technology used in a host of commercial environments, both in and outdoors.

Displax is expected to start shipping the multi-touch “skin” towards the middle of the year.

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