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Touchscreen interfaces are everywhere. But Displair is one that you don’t actually have to touch. The interactive display projects digital content onto a sheet of humidified air, and the company showed off the display at a media briefing Wednesday in New York.
Users operate Displair much like they would a regular touchscreen, except with bigger gestures that instead of two fingers can require two hands — swipe, pinch to zoom, double click, scroll — to do anything one might do on a traditional touchscreen, from exploring Google Earth to playing Angry Birds. (We’ll be highlighting new user interfaces at our RoadMap conference in November in San Francisco).
Originally unveiled at CES this year, Displair will go on sale — at the lofty price of $20,000 — this fall. The intended market is commercial: airports, museums, malls.
In ideal lighting — a darkened room — the display is quite clear. However, it is easily interrupted by outside light. It’s sensitive to gestures, just as a normal touchscreen, but the varying resolution can make it seem sort of ghost-like depending on your angle.
Displair makes a quiet hum as it expels humidified air for the screen, but only uses about as much energy as a laptop (under 500 watts).
It’s beautiful and responsive technology; but only in the right light.
Here’s a promotional video that shows Displair in action: