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News Picks : Thermal camera can make any surface interactive

By: Physics Today
13 June 2014

MIT Technology Review: Thanks to the proliferation of smartphones and other display systems, most people are familiar with touchscreen technology. Now a company called Metaio is developing a way to turn almost any surface into an interactive screen. Called Thermal Touch, the system uses a normal camera to display a surface on a screen and overlays a graphical interface. When a person touches the surface, a separate thermal camera detects the traces of heat left behind by the touch. The system then maps the position of the hand motion onto the graphical interface on the screen. Currently the system consists of a standalone prototype that is plugged into a computer or smartphone. Daniel Kurz, head of the company’s advanced technologies group, believes that soon thermal cameras will be regularly included in mobile devices, much the same way accelerometers and other sensors are.


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