Displays Input

Touchjet Wave transforms your TV into a touch screen device

Tablets may never have a large enough screen to please some users. That’s especially the case when using a tablet to view a widescreen movie that begs to be seen on the largest screen possible.

Touchjet Wave is a new device that adds touch screen control and Android apps to any TV that has a screen from 20 to 80 inches large. The device clips onto the TV and gets connected via the TV’s HDMI port. An HDMI cable is included, along with a stylus. Touchjet Wave uses infrared technology to track finger movements and taps across the TV screen.

Input Technology

101touch keyboard gets rid of manual typing; uses touch instead

One drawback of traditional computer keyboards is that there are a significant number of keys some users need to use on a regular basis that are not easily accessible. Another negative is the huge number of shortcuts that must be learned on a traditional keyboard for each new software program.

The new 101touch keyboard from the Czech Republic-based company of the same name addresses those issues by replacing the traditional keyboard with a completely touch-screen based solution. The keyboard allows the user to shift around keys to whatever positions they want them to be in and add frequently-used functions so that they no longer require any shortcuts to reach them. Playing a computer game will be easier with the 101touch because of the keyboard’s customizable intuitive controls that do away with the need to use a mouse to look through menus or memorize short-cuts and hidden functions. Although it was built using Android, the keyboard is compatible with any computer operating system, including MS-DOS, Windows, Linux, OS X and BIOS. New keyboard layouts can be installed quickly, the company claims, whenever the user shifts to a new program. To help parents limit the amount of time that their kids are spending on a computer, there is a time lock feature that sets how long the keyboard will be active for and when that time is up, the keyboard shuts down and cannot be reactivated without a password.

The keyboard uses an emulator that makes it possible for users to connect the 101touch to a computer and have it immediately start working, without any installation. Keys that computer users don’t use regularly have also been replaced with the most commonly-used computer functions, including open, save, save as and print.  Although the keyboard presented in photos at the Kickstarter campaign website has two screens, that is only a prototype and the final version of the device will have only one display. Backers who pledge £99 (~$154) will get the keyboard when it ships in November. The company is looking to raise £180,000 (~$279,400).

One drawback of a touch-based keyboard is that the user doesn’t get the tactile feel of a traditional keyboard each time a key is pressed, unless the 101touch’s makers can come up with a way to duplicate that experience. Gamers and other computer users who want to get some of the same benefits of the 101touch, but without the touch keyboard, will find the customizable Optimus Maximus keyboard a more appealing option.



Win all the virtual gold with the 6thfinger touchscreen input device

The smartphone gaming space has taken hold of people’s time and attention across the world. The biggest offender are the games where you must tap incessantly to farm coins, gold, or whatever other currency to improve characters, castles, towns, etc. The time they require from uses, though, is more or less ridiculous. This led the team behind the 6thfinger to figure out what they could do, and their product was born.

The 6thfinger is a device which mimics a finger’s taps and motions on a capacitive touchscreen to keep games active. This allows obsessed types to keep progressing even when real life stubbornly gets in the way. As much as there many who would love this sort of thing, it’s ultimately very niche. A SpinPadGrip might be a nice complement to the 6thfinger to help users keep their eyes on the game while they go about their business. The $22 device will ship February 2015. The 6thfinger campaign is hoping to raise $8,000.

Input Technology

Tactalis is so close to revolutionizing touch screen technology, it can feel it

The Premise. Almost every device on the market these days needs a touch screen in order to succeed, as the newest wave of input allows users to interact with their devices in a natural, convenient way. Still, where touch displays should make things easier, without anything to feel by, a touch screen is useless to those who lack other senses.

The Product. Touching buttons to launch apps is one thing, but being able to feel them and identify them without necessarily pressing them is what the Tactalis Origin Tactile Computer offers. Using a metal stylus or a magnetic ring, the Tactalis system puts a system of switches and magnets under any LCD panel, creating a sensation of touch for any image that is normally displayed as a static, flat representation. Additionally, Tactalis is pushing itself as a marketplace of software that utilizes this technology, allowing an entire niche market of apps that can be felt to be developed on the platform, giving vision impaired users access to programs and features that many already take for granted.

The Pitch. The core concept behind Tactalis isn’t just altruistic, it’s also cool. Their campaign materials do a great job of blending these two core aspects of the product’s identity, focusing as much on what adding the sensation of touch can add to existing programs as it does on what said features will enable the blind community to do as far as independent travel, work, and learn. Tactalis is trying to get their hands on $40,000 CAD to bring the Origin Tactile Computer to the masses.

The Perks. With plenty of reward tiers, it’s not until the $2,500 CAD level that backers can actually (and literally) get their hands on an Origin Tactile Computer powered by Tactalis. For twice as much money, at the $5,000 CAD level, the Origin Tactile Computer will come with a carrying case, an accessory pack, and a license offering free access to all Tactalis software. All perks are set to arrive in May 2015.

The Potential. Any technology that offers accessibility to a group of people that currently lack it is sure to make a big splash. The Tactalis Origin Tactile Computer brings back the dimension of touch to devices that have for too long lacked such a feature. While it may seem like nothing more than a novel and unnecessary idea to the bulk of the touch screen-using community, blind users would be able to navigate and use the Internet in a new and intuitive way that can better relay important information. It’s not the first attempt at a tactile display, but the more practical approach using magnets as opposed to a dynamically raised display seems to give it a nod ahead of Tactus in terms of speed to market.

Cell Phone Accessories Displays

TouchPico projects the future of smartphone displays

The Premise. The pocket-sized projector is giving the smartphone the ability to share content locally and give presentations for work or just relax with some Netflix. Now imagine that same technology with the ability to project a touchscreen environment as well.

The Product. TouchPico is an Android PC that wirelessly streams smartphone applications onto any surface quickly and easily. Additionally, TouchPico includes a stylus pen that can be used to control the smartphone the way a finger would on the projected surface, turning any wall, desk, or whiteboard into an interactive display. Because TouchPico is powered by Android, any apps from the Google Play store are immediately compatible with TouchPico for projecting and touching. TouchPico can also stream from a Mac or PC computer environment using the mouse instead, assuming the devices are all connected to a wireless-capable router.

The Pitch. In the video introduction to TouchPico, we see the creators excited for a variety of the features that the device can provide in the home, with children, at work, or at school. As the device is put to the test, the “touch” display seems quick, responsive, and accurate, as suitable for Fruit Ninja as it is for navigating a PowerPoint presentation. The developers of TouchPico are hoping to raise $55,000 for production of the device’s modules and to handle the costs of manufacturing.

The Perks. A TouchPico projector with stylus can be grabbed up for $349 in October 2014. Those who don’t have the funds to pay that much right now can put one on “layaway” for a $99 pledge, with a promise to pay $300 later. Distributors and developers who want to start selling TouchPico immediately or get to work on applications for the device can get their hands on one shipped out right now for $799 or $999 respectively.

The Potential. Projectors for smartphones are beginning to take off as a way to share the powerful computing power of these tiny devices in a way that can engage more people than just the one facing the screen. By adding a pseudo-touch display to the mix, the phone can be easily set aside, allowing for a more natural sharing of media or presentation of ideas. Everything about this device looks like it is ready for market and should perform as well as the TouchPico’s expectations.

Input Tech Accessories

Zmartframe has the magic touch to transform monitors into touch PCs

zmartframeWith tablets quickly becoming common devices that consumers own, the clunky keyboard-and-mouse input of desktop machines is beginning to feel obsolete. Zmartframe is a device that offers two-point multitouch on any 19- or 22-inch monitor. The device straps onto the monitor and features an easily-calibrated Windows touch PC interface, but with the flick of a switch can also turn any monitor into a stand-alone Android PC. Devices like these have existed for some time now, but the actual functionality has been suspect, so it’s up to Zmartframe to really stick the execution on this one. Supporters can get their fingers on the basic Zmartframe in October 2014 for $260.