In this month’s Custom PC Magazine, I continue my regular Mobile Tech Watch column with a look at two interesting technologies for altering the way we interact with mobile phones: Kyocera’s tissue conduction audio system and Disney’s Touché technology.
First, Disney’s Touché. Now Disney isn’t a name regularly associated with high-tech breakthroughs, but Touché is something very special indeed: the mouse-themed company has worked out a process called swept-frequency capacitive sensing, which takes the current state of the art in touch-screen systems and makes something almost entirely new.
Unlike a traditional capacitive or resistive touch-screen, Disney’s Touché can not only track multiple touch points but also whether the finger is bent or straight. It can be applied to large areas cheaply – one suggested application is a sofa which can tell when you’re lying down for a nap and pause your film for you – and even works underwater.
Kyocera’s technology is less immediately impressive, but potentially more useful in the short term. Due to appear in an upcoming Android-based smartphone from the company, the tissue conduction audio system uses a ceramic transducer to vibrate the membranes of the ear – resulting in crystal-clear audio even when the ears are completely blocked.
It’s a technology that has been used in hearing aids, but Kyocera is the first to apply it to a smartphone. By all accounts, it works impressively well: even when using traditional headphones blaring music down the subjects’ lug-holes, the voice on the other end of the line came through loud and clear.
You can read about both technologies in Custom PC Issue 107, on shelves now or available for digital download via the Zinio website.