Yesterday Sony unveiled their Xperia Sola handset and it’s new an innovative “floating Touch” display feature. Essentially this means the Sola’s screen can be activated without actually touching the display. Pretty cool, right? Well if you’re anything like me then you are wondering what Sony did to create this technology and how the hell it actually works? Lucky for us, Sony engineer Erik Hellman took to the Sony mobile developer blog to explain how this whole  process works.

While it’s still a bit difficult for me to explain myself, basically it’s two separate kinds of capacitive sensors working together that allows for both touch and hovering activation. The Sola’s display is comprised of mutual capacitance sensors (as seen on other touch screens) and self capacitance sensors that allow user activation up to 20mm away from its surface. The reason multitouch doesn’t work on this “floating touch” technology is because of the limitations of the self capacitance sensors and the ghosting effect that happens when more than one sensor is triggered at a time, hence the addition of the standard mutual capacitance touch screen sensors.

According to Hellman, “all Android applications will work perfectly fine, just like before, and only the apps that explicitly “listen” for floating touch™ events will react to them.” That then means that in order for Sola users to get full use out of the floating tech, developers are going to need to rewrite their apps to work alongside with this feature. At this time, there are only a few apps developed by Sony that can be activated by hovering over the screen. I am not too sure many devs are going to be jumping for joy over this idea unless the technology really takes off. As if Android fragmentation wasn’t bad enough, now they have another set of rules to consider including within their apps. Only time will tell if this feature will live on or fail miserably. Hit up the source link below the video if you want a more technical explanation from the engineer himself.

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source: Sony Developer World

 

 

 

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