So that is what a “touchless” touch screen is!

Like me, you have probably also been reading the odd rumour about the next iPod.  One of these rumours speaks of a “touchless” touch screen.  I couldn’t work out how that was supposed to work until I read this Business 2.0 post:

What if the entire surface of your iPod was a screen, and you could wave your fingers over different parts of the screen to call up different controls?  Depending on what you were doing, you could manipulate a virtual scroll-wheel or get a keyboard to pop up. What’s more, you could do this without actually touching the screen or getting it all smudged up.  You could be typing in air just above teh screen, and the movement of your fingers would be causing each key on the screen to enlarge as you “tap” it.

Just such an invention is what Apple describes in a patent application published yesterday.  It describes an input/output system that senses when a finger or stylus is hovering in proximity over the screen.  The sensing could occur any number of ways—from measuring capacitive resistance and changes in the electric field to magnetic, optical,infrared, and acoustic techniques.  Freaky.

I wouldn’t describe that as freaky.  That would make the new iPod cool enough to find the money to buy!!  What I think is freaky is that this technology which is so awesome to us now, will be old news by the end of the decade.

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