"Transparent" Touchscreen: LCD the Front, Fingers in the Back

The iPhone touch interface is innovative, there is no doubt about that—but it does have some drawbacks. For example, multi-touch is ill suited to fat fingers and the process of navigating obstructs the screen. Wigdor at MERL, and Patrick Baudisch at Microsoft Research are hoping to change all that with a new touch sensitive gadget called LucidTouch that allows users to navigate via sensors on the back of the device instead of the front. This will allow for a firmer grip on the device, better performance, and a clear view of the screen according to researchers.


When in use, the users hands appear like shadows though the screen, giving the impression that the device is transparent. The active point of each finger is indicated with a small green dot which should effectively address the problems that portly nerds face each and every day. It sounds great, but LucidTouch won't really be ready for prime-time unless it can be slimmed down enough to be practical. Currently, the rear touch interface is made possible by a bulky "boom camera" that records finger movements. Obviously that is totally unacceptable to the discerning geek, but researchers believe that solutions are on the horizon, including using a souped-up touch iPhone-esque touch panel or LEDs. [New Scientist]



@RIDERED - I totally agree; I think this would be really interesting technology for something like a tablet which you'd hold with 2 hands, but for something like a cellphone or ipod or any other 1 hand device; seems like it wouldn't work at all.

While watching this I really thought it was an interesting, viable concept - but after thinking about it a little, I don't see it getting into the mainstream. Not because of the backtouching, but because people just don't like to carry around big ass pieces of hardware and use them "mobilely". Tablet PCs aren't selling well, and if you're not using it in a mobile context, you'll be putting it down on a desk, in which case you want a laptop rather than something you need to pick up to operate.