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Can Touchless Touchscreen Technology Restrain Virus Spread?

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Even though it feels like we are in the end game of this deadly pandemic, scientists in Bengaluru have found a new solution for stopping the spread of COVID-19 infections. The technology is called a 'touchless touchscreen,' obtained through printing techniques. Our society can significantly benefit from technologies that minimize the need for touching public surfaces or help us operate devices at a safe distance. Bluetooth, Near-Field Communications (NFC), and other contactless technologies are mature and increasingly utilized, but they have been designed for purposes other than minimizing the need for touching public surfaces. As a result, these technologies need to have digital devices with us all the time.

Pointing out how Covid-19 has triggered efforts to make lifestyle more adaptable to pandemic scenarios, the researchers said that they are trying to reduce the risk of spread, particularly in public places, where the touchscreen is used on self-service kiosks, ATMs, and vending machines.

Team Working on Touchless Touch Sensor
The research work center has set up a semi-automated production plant to produce printing-aided patterns, with a resolution of around 300 Aum. These electrodes have potential uses in advanced touch-less screen technologies. This work by the team led by G.U. Kulkarni and co-workers and funded by DST-Nanomission at CeNS has been published recently in the journal 'Materials Letters.' Ashutosh K Singh, a scientist working on this project, said, "We have fabricated a touch sensor which senses a proximal or a touch even from a distance of 9 cm from the device."

“We are making a few more prototypes using our patterned electrodes to prove their feasibility for other smart electronic applications. These patterned electrodes can be made available to interested industries and R&D labs on a request basis to explore collaborative projects," said Indrajit Mondal, another co-author in the research.

The novel low-cost patterned transparent electrodes have the potential to be used in advanced smart electronic devices like touch-free screens and sensors. This touchless touch sensor technology could assist in preventing the spread of viruses that spread through contact, the developers said.

Our technology has numerous advantages over more basic mid-air interaction techniques or conventional gesture recognition, because it supports intuitive interactions with legacy interface designs and doesn’t require any learning on the part of the user

How is Touchless Technology Taking Over the New Work Environment?
Earlier, Cambridge University researchers developed a ‘no-touch touchscreen’ that uses artificial intelligence to predict a user’s intention before their hand reaches the display. The screen was originally designed for use in cars, but the engineers who built it claim it could also have widespread applications during a pandemic. The ‘predictive touch’ technology can be retrofitted to existing displays. It could prevent the spread of pathogens on touchscreens at supermarket check-outs, ATMs, and ticket terminals at railway stations. Studies have shown that coronavirus can remain on plastic and glass for anywhere between two hours and a week, meaning touchscreens in public places need to be constantly disinfected to prevent transmission.

Touchscreens and other interactive displays are something most people use multiple times per day, but they can be difficult to use while in motion, whether that’s driving a car or hanging the music on your phone while you’re running,” said Simon Godsill from the university’s department of engineering.

The technology works by predicting a user’s intentions to touch the screen as they begin the hand moving towards the screen. A combination of AI and sensors determines the user's intent in real-time by tracking contextual information like the user's profile, environmental conditions, and an eye-gaze tracker. Other touch-free technologies include gesture control, which can be found on the latest generation of Google and Samsung smartphones, as well as some smart TVs. Haptic feedback technology also offers a way to interact with digital devices and environments, though it still needs development and is yet to see broad commercial use.

“Our technology has numerous advantages over more basic mid-air interaction techniques or conventional gesture recognition, because it supports intuitive interactions with legacy interface designs and doesn’t require any learning on the part of the user,” said Dr. Bashar Ahmad, who led the development of the touchless screen.

It fundamentally relies on the system to predict the user's intention and can be incorporated into both new and existing touchscreens and other interactive display technologies.

New contactless touchscreen technology developed by Jaguar Land Rover and the University of Cambridge will help keep drivers’ eyes on the road and reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses in a post-COVID-19 world. The patented technology, known as ‛predictive touch,’ uses artificial intelligence and sensors to predict a user’s intended target on the touchscreen – whether that’s satellite navigation, temperature controls, or entertainment settings – without touching a button. Developed with engineers at the University of Cambridge, the pioneering system is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Destination Zero vision – a desire to make its vehicles safer and the environment cleaner and healthier.

The technology uses AI to determine the item the user intends to select on the screen early in the pointing task, speeding up the interaction. A gesture tracker uses vision-based or radio frequency-based sensors, increasingly common in consumer electronics. It combines contextual information such as user profile, interface design, and environmental conditions with data available from other sensors, such as an eye-gaze tracker, to infer the user’s intent in real-time.

Revolutionizing Airports through Touch Screen Technology
Using automated gates with inbuilt readers allows contactless authentication and automated processing of passengers. Also, high contact touchpoints are eliminated, and passengers are protected from the transmission of viruses or harmful pathogens found on commonly touched surfaces in high traffic areas such as airports and public transport hubs. Of course, touchless technologies assist in the recovery from COVID-19. However, the pandemic aside, these innovative implementations and the limitation of contact points will still be valuable and vital for future wellbeing to safeguard human health and sanitization in public areas.

One ID Ready
The use of biometric authorization can easily be implemented within Gunebbo airport access control. The one Id concept involves using the face as a way to authorize one’s passage through each stage of airport security gates. Customers can move around the airport—from entering the terminal through to boarding by simply using their face as their identification without the need to continuously present boarding passes and other identification documents and exchanging them with the airport staff. The user looks at a screen with a built-in camera, and upon positive authorization, the gate automatically opens. The whole accreditation process takes only a few seconds and is entirely touchless.

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