Here's a bit of a followup article to one that we posted just yesterday. Sony shared some more details on how their new "Floating Touch" technology works on their newly announced Xperia Sola phone. If you missed the article and/or haven't heard about the tech, it basically allows the display on the phone to detect a hover gesture as well as physical contact. One of the primary uses for this feature would allow users to hover over the screen like a cursor when in a browser and selecting links. The new tech can even detect the distance that your finger is from the screen.
Sony explained the technology by sharing that tiny little microscopic gnomes live under the display and run around tirelessly pushing buttons to match your hovering finger's movements. Okay, I made that part up, but Sony really has shared a bit about the technology on their mobile developer's blog. Here's a quote from the AndroidCentral article with a great summary,
This tech seems pretty fascinating and potentially pretty useful if they have figured out a way to counter-act any "oversensitivity" issues. In fact, this new "breakthrough" could be big enough that Sony might consider licensing it to other companies to use in their phones. In the mean-time, it will be interesting to see what sort of great ideas that third party devs can come up with to take advantage of this concept. For a more in depth technical explanation, check out the Sony Developer's Blog.Essentially, the Xperia Sola contains two types of capacitive sensor. There's a mutual-capacitive sensor, used for multi-touch, and a self-capacitive sensor, which generates a stronger signal, allowing it to detect conductive objects (like your greasy paws) from further away. Self-capacitive sensors aren't multi-touch capable, and mutual-capacitive sensors aren't strong enough to detect objects at a distance, but if you combine both in a single screen, you get the best of both worlds -- multi-touch when you're touching the screen, and floating touch when you're not.