AI-Powered ‘No Touch Touchscreen’ – A Blessing in Disguise
logo Vivek Asrani
August 13, 2020 | 4 Min Read

AI-Powered ‘No Touch Touchscreen’ – A Blessing in Disguise

As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, the world is adapting to the new way of living in different ways.

While some are innovating in personal equipment, car manufacturers are coming up with breakthrough ideas.

Businesses understand that people would continuously fear coming in contact with the deadly Coronavirus once this pandemic is over. Hence, they would not like to touch anything, not even their car functions!

Jaguar Land Rover and the University of Cambridge have come up with an innovative solution specifically to overcome this situation  for the post-COVID-19 era. 

This timely technology allows you to use touch-screen interfaces for cars without actually touching anything.  Isn’t that fantastic news?

 1. What is this new technology called?

This patented technology is termed as “predictive touch.” Engineers developed it at the University of Cambridge as a part of a research collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover.

2. How Does “Predictive Touch” Work?

Here's how the "Predictive Touch" works:

  • "Predictive Touch" utilizes a potent combination of artificial intelligence and sensor technology to predict the user's intended target on touchscreens and other interactive displays or control panels. 

  • It assists in opting for the appropriate item before the user's hands reach the display.

  • “Predictive Touch” is said to be theoretically great for short-term car rental and any scenario connected with shared usage with strangers like fast-food ordering screens, supermarket self-checkouts, and train ticket machines.

  • With the so-called “predictive touch,” tech employs sensors and specifically-developed AI to adjudge the path of a person’s finger-and---TADA--- it is claimed to predict which button someone is going to press accurately.

3. Advantages of Contactless Touch Screens

As the lockdown restrictions across the world come to an end, this technology can come in quite handy during the post-COVID-19 era. 

Today, we are seeing several everyday consumer transactions being conducted with the help of touchscreens. 

This includes:

  • Ticketing at railway stations or cinemas
  • ATMs
  • Check-in kiosks at airports
  • Self-service checkouts in supermarkets
  • Industrial & manufacturing applications

a. In future, people will use contactless touchscreen to drastically reduce the risk of spreading pathogens like common cold, influenza, or even coronavirus from surfaces.

b. This technology can even be incorporated into smartphones, which can come in handy while walking or jogging. It will enable users to effortlessly and precisely select items without requiring any physical contact.

c. It can be seamlessly integrated with the existing touchscreens and interactive displays. The only thing needed is the availability of the correct sensory data to support the machine learning algorithm.

4. Advantages of “Predictive Touch” Technology

  • The AI-powered contactless touch screen for cars known as “Predictive Touch” technology employs machine learning to ascertain the item the user intends to opt on the screen early in the pointing task that speeds up the interaction.
  • There is also a gesture tracker that includes vision-based or RF-based sensors. These are quite commonly found in consumer electronics.

  • You can get contextual information like user profile, environmental conditions, interface design, and data from other sensors such as eye-gaze trackers to decipher the user’s intent in real-time.

  • You can use this technology for displays that do not have a physical surface like 2D or 3D projections or holograms. 

  • It promotes inclusive design practices and provides extra design flexibilities, as the interface functionality can be seamlessly personalized for the specific user. Hence, the display size or location is no longer constrained by the user's ability to real-touch.

  • It will even work in situations like moving cars on a bumpy road if a user has a motor disability that causes a tremor or sudden hand jerks like Parkinson's disease or cerebral palsy.

Drawback of Touchscreen Technology: 

Lots of passenger cars use touchscreen technology to control entertainment, navigation, or temperature control systems. However, when users miss out on selecting the right item, it can be due to a sudden vibration from road conditions. Here, you need to reselect. In other words, you need to divert your attention from the road, which increases the risk of an accident.

Solution: However, in case of “Predictive Touch” technology, i.e., contactless touch screens for cars, during lab tests, driving simulators, and road-based trials it was reflected that predictive technology was able to reduce interaction effort and time by a maximum of 50%. This is due to its ability to predict the user's intended target with high accuracy early in the pointing task, thanks to the combination of AI and machine learning. This results in distraction-free, safer driving.  

5. What do People Who Invented AI-Powered “No Touch Touchscreen” Say?

  1. According to Professor Simon Godsill from Cambridge’s Department of Engineering, who led the project, “Touchscreens and other interactive displays are certain things that most people employ several times daily. However, it can be challenging to employ while in motion irrespective of whether it drives a car or changes the music on your phone while it is playing." He further added, "Predictive Technology” aids in averting the risk of pathogens transmitting on surfaces.”

  1. According to Lee Skrypchuk, Human Machine Interface Technical Specialist at Jaguar Land Rover, “With the help of this revolutionary technology, it is possible to make your vehicles safer by reducing the cognitive load on drivers and increasing the amount of time they can spend looking ahead in time. This is our major goal.”

  1. Dr. Bashar Ahmad, who led the development of the technology and the underlying algorithms with Professor Godsill said, "Our technology has a distinctive edge over basic mid-air interaction techniques or conventional gesture recognition. The reason being, it supports intuitive interactions with legacy interface designs. The biggest advantage is, it does not require any learning on the part of the user." They further added, "It is heavily dependent on the system to predict what the user intends which can be incorporated into the new and existing touchscreens and other interactive display technologies.”

Conclusion

"Predictive Touch" has been made keeping in mind the critical aspects of living in the Post-COVID-19 era. Now, it has to be seen how this breakthrough technology makes our lives more comfortable in the years to come.

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