Xperia Sola is the first smartphone to feature Sony's floating touch technology that lets you control the UI without even touching the screen. Users just need to hover their finger over the screen and it can track you finger up to 20 mm above the screen. Sony says this can bring about revolutionary changes in web browsing experience because you can float through the web pages in ease. The company has also mentioned that this is not restricted to mere web browsing but you will see more applications utilizing floating touch in the near future.
Xperia Sola's Touch Screen
Xperia Sola uses capacitive touch sensing that is it layers an X-Y grid of electrodes covering the screen, on which a voltage is then applied. When a finger nears the electrodes, there is a change in the capacitance and this can be measured to actually pin point the spot where the finger is making the disturbance. This is the basic principle of a Capacitive touch screen and to know what's special with Xperia Sola, read on.
There are two types of sensors used in touch screens:
- Mutual Capacitance
- Self Capacitance
Green spots represent points where user touches the screen. Red marks shows the ghosting effect
Mutual capacitance is responsible for multi-touch detection and Self capacitance generates a stronger signal than mutual capacitance, which allows accurate detection of the finger further away from the sensors. With self capacitance, multi touch is not possible due to an effect called Ghosting.
Xperia Sola with Floating touch
As mentioned above, mutual capacitance helps to register multi touch gestures and self capacitance helps the detection of the object (fingers or any other objects used to communicate with the screen) above the screen. So how is this both achieved in Xperia Sola? Xperia Sola is packed with a screen that runs both mutual capacitance and self capacitance, at the same time. Floating touch is achieved by combining both mutual capacitance and self capacitance on the same touch screen.. Mutual capacitance is used for the normal touch sensing on the screen, including multi-touch. And running Self capacitance simultaneously, the object can easily be tracked even if it's above the screen.
Limitations of the technology
Since Floating touch technology depends on self capacitance, you can not perform multi-touch gestures with the fingers hovering above the screen but then it works fine on the screen (since Mutual capacitance is also employed).
I was just mentioning the basics of the technology itself. For more information about floating touch and its developer possibilities, visit this page.
The technology was developed by Sony in cooperation with Cypress Technologies.
See the video:
Edited by Nevin John, 21 May 2012 - 02:22 PM.