updated 11:35 am EST, Wed December 30, 2009
Touchco's IFSR multi-touch due in 2010
Young startup Touchco revealed today that it has developed a new touchscreen technology that could add pressure sensitivity to multi-touch even as it drives the cost down. Known as Interpolating Force-Sensitive Resistance (IFSR), it uses embedded resistors that alter the level of capacitance, or stored electric charge, depending on the amount of pressure applied at a given point. The technique would still allow for the light, quick touches of a capacitive touchscreen like the iPhone's but could add extra functions for more deliberate presses.
IFSR's very nature would also allow much more complex input: where regular capacitive multi-touch is often limited to between 2 and 10 active input points at a time, the new development supports a theoretically unlimited number of inputs and could even use whole surfaces, such as the owner's palms. It should also work better with inanimate objects and could ignore accidental input.
Cost is also relatively low: a whole square foot of the surface currently costs $10 and would cost less per unit if split into several pieces for smartphones or similarly-sized devices.
Unlike many technology-centric companies, Touchco plans a quick turnaround and should ship IFSR in both opaque and transparent forms for e-book readers, notebooks and even music purposes over the course of 2010. The most definitive example is an in-progress Disney digital sketchbook that would let children draw with either their fingers or a peripheral like a brush or pen. [via New York Times]