Announced at the game development conference this week, Fast Multi-Touch (FMT) is a 40-microsecond capacitive multi-touch sensor that is said by its creator, Tactual Labs, to be 300x faster than today’s 13- to 15-millisecond touch solutions.
The company claims that the technology enables zero-latency gamepads, trackpads, and transparent touchscreens for touch and stylus input -- which would have many applications outside of the gaming industry. Tactual has a patent pending on the solution. Its creators include: Dr. Darren Leigh, ACM UIST Lasting Impact Award winner for his pioneering work in capacitive multi-touch at Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs (MERL); Tactual's VP of software, Dr. Clifton Forlines; its science advisor, Daniel Wigdor, a computer science professor at the University of Toronto and former architect of Microsoft's natural user interfaces team; and Tactual's president, Steven Sanders, of Sanders Capital.
The goal is to reduce latency to levels below human perception and to create a family of solutions based on the technology. While advanced displays have come far in providing a better touch experience, capacitive sensors were too slow to keep up with the visuals.
The solution works by scanning for input up to 4,000 times per second, 300 times faster than today's 60- to 85-Hz solutions. It recognizes touch input in approximately 40 microseconds, compared with today’s solutions that report a touch-input event in 13 to 17 milliseconds. It seems to me that anyone requiring real-time a display experience, no matter the industry, might benefit from that breakneck speed.
— Carolyn Mathas is a freelance blogger and editor for EE Times' Industrial Control Designline