Physical touch screens have become so common these days, from bank ATMs to self-ordering or self-checkout kiosks. It’s almost impossible to not come into contact with one of these screens in our daily lives. Suffice to say, they are a breeding ground for germs if not disinfected regularly.
But with Air Touch Panel, a holographic touch screen developed by Japanese company Hakuhodo Products, you can bid farewell to the germ-laden physical touch screens — and the costs of resources and manpower for frequent sanitisation.
As if coming out from a scene in the Iron Man movies, this seemingly fanciful technology makes use of a special panel produced by Parity Innovations called Parity Mirror 300, which uses ray optics to produce a floating image. Contrary to what we see in the movies, the Air Touch Panel is solid-looking no matter how you view it. It has a motion sensor that tracks finger or hand movements, which are then processed by a mini computer.
Originally, Hakuhodo had been producing a virtual touch screen for entertainment purposes. As the coronavirus pandemic increased the usefulness of non-contact applications, they began to adapt it for commercial use, in hopes of preventing the spread of the virus.
Demand in China has similarly surged for “no touch” hologram buttons, with technology company Easpeed ramping up production to meet orders.
In response to the introduction of such technology, Japanese netizens have nothing but positive and welcoming comments. One exclaimed in excitement, “The world of science fiction is finally coming!”
Hakuhodo started offering the Air Touch Panel to Japanese businesses on 8 July.
In Singapore, we are beginning to see such technology being implemented locally. A Mapletree industrial building in Kallang recently installed one such holographic control unit in a lift.