ZeroTouch, an interface recently presented at the computer science Conference on Human Factors in Computing by researchers at Texas A&M University, is an inexpensive way by which a screen of any size can be converted into a touchscreen device.
ZeroTouch can identify the position of an object using a series of infrared LEDs and sensors mounted on the outside of what looks like a picture frame. LEDs form a network of beams passing through the space inside the frame. A finger or an object that enters this space blocks some rays, allowing the software to monitor them in order to track the movement of the object in real time.
The system can be used to turn any screen, including that of large TV screens, into a touchscreen. However, combined with touch-sensitive screens, ZeroTouch can be used to increase the range of commands that a system can understand.
The team from Texas demonstrated the operation of a ZeroTouch, superimposed on a stylus-controlled touchscreen. Users can issue commands by touching the screen with a stylus, slide, or a simple touch of your fingers, like an iPhone.
The team demonstrated how the combination of stylus and finger-touch control allows users to control a complex strategy game without problems.
The leader of the team, Andruid Kerne, said he would like to assemble a series of ZeroTouch frames, forming a frame large enough that a person can pass through it. Such a system would be capable of detecting movements in three-dimensional space and it can be applied to control games.
The current 3D control devices, such as Microsoft Kinect, release infrared beams from a single point, thus limiting the accuracy of tracking.