‘Thermal Touch’ will turn any surface into an AR touch screen

May 23, 2014

“Thermal Touch” senses thermal energy associated with a touch, converting any surface or object into an AR-enhanced touch screen (credit: Metaio)

Metaio (as in meta I/O) has developed a prototype of a system called  “Thermal Touch” that the Germany-based company says would allow a user of a future wearable headset to make any object touchable.

The prototype system combines a thermal infrared and standard camera connected to a tablet PC (in the future, Metaio assumes, these cameras would be built into augmented reality (AR) glasses).

The system identifies the object based on the heat signature left by a person’s finger touching a surface or object. Metaio’s software could then add relevant AR images, allowing the user to “interact with digital content in an all-new tactile way.”

For example, you could get directions by touching a static map in an airport, or get more information (video, etc.) from a book by touching text on a page.

Metaio will demonstrate Thermal Touch at the 2014 Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, CA, May 27–May 29. Metaio is offering a $200.00 discount with code METAIO4AWE at registration.

Thermal Touch is a vision of the near future for wearable computing user interfaces. By fusing information from an infrared and standard camera, nearly any surface can be transformed into a touch screen.