Monday, February 14, 2011

World's Largest Touch Screen

The University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, has converted a 3D theater into the world’s largest touchscreen, used for teaching mathematics and computer science students interactivity. The screen has a curvature of 135 degrees and is transparent. It can handle over 100 touch points at the same time. One of the great things about this touchscreen is that it doesn’t rely on any fancy new technology. It was basically put together with some PCs, video cameras, projectors and cheap infrared illuminators.   

While this at first might just seem like a cool thing some college kids in the Netherlands made, which it is, it still means more to the world then look what our students can do.  This shows that we don't have to limit touch screens to small phones or computer screens and proves we can have creations such as touch screen walls or tables. If this idea catches and is taken by a company and made into such items, the global market could be in for a large shift. With something as a touch-wall would you still need paint? with touch-tables would you still need magazines and newspapers? Would common building supplies like drywall still be needed as much? and would furniture companies have to or get to create as many coffee tables? This could even potentially remove the need for desktop computers because it is now on your wall. No more sticky notes on the wall to remind you to do things, white boards would soon start to disappear from schools and businesses to be replaced with these high-tech touch-walls or smart-walls. If someone just takes this idea and runs with it they could soon make millions but at the cost of others. With a change in consumer interest from all of the products listed above to these new virtual surfaces it could potentially cause hundreds of companies to go out of business. The overall demand for those products would go down, so if you have no demand why have the supply? so it would drop as well. Soon enough entire lines of products that once were big hits and the must have items would simply disappear. Yet this has happened in the past and businesses did go under, or changed to feature the new items. Yes this will cause some problems but nothing major, it is a step forward and one that could potentially be quite awesome. With this idea that has now been created, the possibilities are endless and only time will tell what will come of this, but I hope some day we all can have walls that are interactive like we have all seen in sci-fi movies for years.


Smith said...

Great analysis.
" If someone just takes this idea and runs with it they could soon make millions but at the cost of others. " Isn't this the entire philosophy behind capitalism and self-interest?

Do you think the government would step in to regulate this new market? Would they allow so many industries to possibly fall?

Matthew said...

Why would they step in here? They have never stepped in when technology and the market progressed in time. It is a economic cycle of new products entering the market and old products leaving it. With this happening new stores start and old ones either adapt or fail, it is just life in the business world.

kern said...

I have always wanted a computer screen like in Minority Report and I think it is becoming much closer to that being a reality to an average consumer. What do you think the overall demand of touch screen computers will be in the future? Why hasn't Apple come out with a touch screen desktop?

Matthew said...

The demand for touch screen computers will not be extremely high, the functionality and limitations of touch screens are to large compared to that of a mouse and keyboard. You have this disability of not wearing gloves, having something on your fingers and not having the feel of keys to tell what keys your fingers have crossed. There will be a demand, mostly those of the younger generation because it seems to be more entertaining. I just personally find touch screens nice but are still overly flawed and I would rather not use one if I did not have to.

In regard to Apple not having released this yet, I don't feel that is the right question. *Please note I am biased against Apple* The actual question is why hasn't anyone released a touch screen desktop? and in relation to Apple, why have they not released a touch screen laptop? I know that companies such as Dell and HP have released touch screen computers not just phones and tablets. Apple has failed to release anything larger then the iPad to the consumer market. I can see both companies such as Dell, HP, and Apple releasing such computers but they will either take a while to get a hold in the market or they will be unable to keep a supply of them in stores.

What I find as a better Idea then a touch screen desktop is keeping current desktops just putting software on them that allows for touch screens and make the monitor touch screen, that way you can still use it as a functional monitor, use the mouse and keyboard, or use the touch screen when they want to. With this touch wall idea I believe that is how it would work, a dedicated system in something such as a server closet and just have the display being the wall.