MILLION-DOLLAR IDEA: New Touch Panels For iPhones That Can Actually Sense Your Gloved Fingers

touch panel

Photo: Patently Apple

The Idea: This new projection-type touch panel is not limited to conductors (the human touch) – it is capable of detecting insulators such as plastic and cloth, making your smartphone actually able to register gloved fingers. Users can theoretically use other inputs as well, such as fingernails and plastic pens.The size of the new touch panel is compatible with the iPhone, and in the coming years, it’s very likely that you’ll see this new technology in Apple stores.

Whose idea: Hitachi Displays

Why we’re split: The new touch panel does serve some good purposes: the iPhone’s current touchscreen technology can only register bare skin, and, needless to say, this is very inconvenient during wintertime. However, if the new touch panel is able to register plastic and cloth, does this mean it would constantly register false positives? 

Think about it – when you’re outdoors, the phone will constantly be in your pocket or purse, making contact with the very elements that are supposed to set it off. You don’t want any false alarms or accidental calls or texts – that could lead to some embarrassing situations. Not everything should be a sensed material! 

In South Korea, they’ve already come up with an effective, though perhaps less orthodox, solution for the winter: using popular packaged meat snacks (Slim Jims anyone?) as a stylus.

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