See-through tech trends go touchy-feely

See-through tech trends go touchy-feely

In the midst of the tablet and smartphone frenzy, large corporations are taking notice as technology evolves by the minute. Businesses are taking cues to gear up to support the latest consumer trends while staying ahead of the faster-than-a-speeding-bullet innovation curve. 

Awe-inspiring examples are entering a broad range of sectors, from food and beverage to academia to interior design. The restaurant industry now has an option to greet patrons with stylish interactive menu tablets thanks to India-based Azilen Technologies. Touting “fun, frolic and food” within their global ad campaign, the easy-to-navigate tabletop tablets, are hooking interest and generating additional check revenues thanks to the complimentary pre-loaded menu images, games, quizzes, songs and even videos. 

With the massive vending industry going touchable, Acure Vending, a division of Japanese beverage company JR East Water, debuted a touchscreen display vending machine topped with a camera at the Tokyo Shinagawa Station. 

Sensory data is interpreted by an internal processor that recognizes the sex of the customer and estimates his or her age. Product recommendations based on the data are displayed for the consumer to select via touching the screen. Six months after the initial installation, sales doubled. 

Another industry benefiting from the touchscreen frenzy is education. In lieu of the traditional classroom desk, researchers at U.K.-based Durham University have created an interactive multi-touch desk project being called Synergy Net that invites students to partake more in classroom discussions while encouraging board work. A fascinating innovation, it also assists disabled students with participating in classroom activities. 

The test audience of 6- and 7-year-olds generated a great level of enthusiasm. Also a big hit for adult education, the product will be a great addition for schools looking for a high-tech initiative.

It was only a matter of time before the multi-touch desk concept from the school sector would meet the home design world, but unfortunately, not all concepts come to fruition.  Take, for instance, the greatly publicized launch from Cosmikarts Digital, where Apple meets the Coffee Table. Stylish and “geek-chic,” the 37-in (94-cm) piece of furniture was pure Apple technology with all the inner workings of an IBook G4, allowing you to roam freely from room to room without carrying the tablet or laptop. Unfortunately, the product never made it off the production line, and rumor has it the fast wave of innovation was quicker than the production timetable at Cosmikart, which, sadly enough, is no longer in existence. 

A prime example of “reinvention” is a design concept for the iPhone. An inspiration to many designers, the transparent reinvention of the popular handset is courtesy of designer Robert Davis. 

Love it or don’t, the heir apparent iPhone also appears to be a one-off of the translucent trend we’ve seen in fashion and interior design. And why not? On bodies, transparency is the allure of the exhibitionist. For objects, it is revealing the inner workings, or at least the façade, of how something functions. Either way, transparency tends to pique interests, and if it extends the life on one of your peak performers (in this example adding a new twist to the touchscreen frenzy), why not take a proven winner in a new direction?