person pointing at a touchscreen

Touchless Interactive Digital Signage is Now Possible for the New Norm

SigmaSense® SigmaHover® Technology a new alternative to interact with interactive displays

Our lives have changed in unpredictable ways in the recent past. Sheltering in place, wiping touch surfaces and, protecting ourselves and others by wearing masks is now commonplace. Interactive Digital Kiosks offer a convenient and powerful way to interact with information in our daily lives. How should we now interact with these useful devices in the age of the new normal? Do we continue to touch them? Do we wear gloves? Do we lather up with sanitizer after touching the device? There are several ways to safely touch interactive displays today and SigmaSense® is adding hover based display interactivity as a new safe alternative to direct touch.

Large display interaction using hover and capacitive imaging of all objects and people near the display surface, is an intuitive new way is to interact. SigmaSense® is the performance leader in PCAP touch solutions and uses superior SNR and high fidelity data to provide SigmaVision®, our capacitive imaging solution. High speed capacitive imaging is similar to a video steam of the touch surface and objects in proximity to the surface. This new dimension above the surface allows for user intent to be detected and identified. Users can move display icons, select applications, and even use gestures if the display manufacturer enables that capability. That’s right, interact with the device without touching it.  No touch, no risk of contamination. Multi-touch is a natural and fundamental interface mechanism and remains as the expected interaction model for large display interaction.  Hover interaction builds upon that foundation and extends end user options and capabilities. New user experiences and exciting new use cases are now possible.

Today, thin gloves can be used to interact with a few types of displays in order to avoid contamination, but they are often not the best solution since contaminants will remain on the gloves, requiring them to be discarded after each use.  Also, most of us do not wish to carry a box of nitrile gloves just to interact with digital signage devices. Many touch displays are incapable of sensing touch through even thin gloves. The good news is that this is not a problem for SigmaSense®. Hand sanitizers are another alternative but besides the requirement of keeping a sanitizer dispenser accessible nearby, the hand sanitizer solution tends to leave a liquid residue on the surface of the display. This often causes the touch to be non-responsive and can obscure the visibility of the display. SigmaSense® solves this problem too, with the ability to operate robustly through contaminants and liquids.

SigmaSense® hover capability allows for interaction above the screen as a supplement to, or alternative to touching the screen. Intuitive selections and movements are detected from a comfortable distance above the screen. Software developers can rapidly use this human input information to extend the user experience even further beyond touch.

Interacting without touch is not only possible, but it can offer new user experiences that are sometimes even more engaging compared to touch alone. SigmaHover® literally extends our multi-touch technology in new directions.  Now, not only are the “X” and “Y” location dimensions of touch available, but also the “Z” dimension – the area above the display. User intent can be ascertained by both traditional (X, Y) locations and how (Z) approaches the display. Machine learning can use this high fidelity data to enhance the user experience even further. Hand location, speed, acceleration, shape and other attributes are all considered and processed to provide control of the display operation.  The world will continue to change and SigmaSense® is here to help digital signage users stay safe in the new normal.