Microsoft's LucidTouch see-through touchscreen unveiled
10 March 2008
The recent Microsoft Techfest showcased a range of new technologies including LucidTouch, a mobile device that allows the user to control the application by touching the back of the see-through device.
Banking on technology called pseudo-transparency, LucidTouch makes use of overlaying an image of the user's hands onto the screen and created the illusion of the mobile device itself being semitransparent. This pseudo-transparency allows users to accurately acquire targets while not occluding the screen with their fingers and hand.
The device, part of Microsoft's annual display of research projects at the company, reportedly supports multi-touch input, allowing users to operate the device simultaneously with all ten fingers. This device actually sees, reflects and responds to the user's fingers touching the back of the device.
Though seen as a large handheld computer with a small video camera attached on an arm about a foot's length off the back of the device, the current form of LucidTouch has a technology that enables it could easily change now that the concept is proven. LucidTouch boasts of a touch sensor layer on its back which senses when a user's fingers are touching it. The camera attached behind it sends an image of the user's fingers to the device, where the image is overlaid lightly, like a shadow, on the screen.
In the future, the camera arrangement in the prototype might be replaced by a couple of other technologies, including one that another group is working on that would use infrared to pick up finger movements.