If you’re a part of the do-it-yourself crowd and can tolerate long shipping times, you may want to turn your attention to Shanghai-based Polytouch Interactive Systems.
The company sells a hand-sized electronic component that connects with an array of touch-activated sensors. The device requires no drivers to install on a PC, with plug and play capability. The unit interprets touch input from a sensor – either connected through a USB cable or a wireless sender and receiver module – into a keyboard command that can be understood by an application.
Even if you’re not a programmer, you can get the Polytouch application software to create an application that will respond to the touch inputs. Up to 20 simultaneous touch inputs can be handled at one time.
The really impressive part is in the number of touch sensors available that work with the unit. You can get above-surface touch sensors that could be attached to stickers on a physical panel. Or you can get sensors that are designed to be placed underneath material such as wood, acrylic, or glass. You can imagine any number of impressive applications of touch sensors triggering engaging interactions for customers in a store setting.
The Polytouch Web site gives several examples of what you might do, including an interactive product shelf, an interactive window (a PC’s display is projected onto a glass window and the touch sensors trigger different videos or images to be displayed), and even an interactive floor where just standing on a certain spot will trigger your computer response.
The company’s English language marketing clearly has some way to go. One of the top navigation links on the Web site is “Contanct Us.” But it provides some interesting ideas for interactive marketing in a world where most people are now used to touch interfaces.