Forget gesture tech, think touch tech. Disney (of all people) have developed Touché, a touch-based sensory platform. It works thanks to capacitive sensing, in which an electrical signal passing through the object changes when touched by a conductive material, such as a human finger. The researchers say Touché could be used to create smart doorknobs that unlock when grasped in a certain way or allow tables and chairs to sense the position of people using them. It could also let you control your phone by touching your fingers together or tapping your palm. Aside from the potential within Disney’s entertainment space for touch-based immersive experiences, could this usher in the era of touching as a layer of communication?
We recently wrote about how the consumer Centre of Gravity is shifting towards emerging economies and taking the design vernacular with it. We first noted this shift in luxury retail, but now the car market is starting to turn its attention away from the West. And with good reason. U.S. light-vehicle sales peaked at almost 17 million a year in 2005. As of 2009, China is the world’s largest light-vehicle market (sales in 2012 are estimated at more than 18 million, compared with about 14.5 million for the U.S.), and the fastest-growing. Covering the Beijing International Auto show recently, the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Neil informed his readers, ‘As a journalist, I am sometimes called upon to deliver bad news, so brace yourself: You no longer live in the center of the Car Universe’.
To meet burgeoning demand, Western car marques are producing models adjusted for the Chinese luxury consumer. Amongst some of the more obvious (and possibly patronising) design cues — there are a lot of dragons — are some lovely intuitive ideas which may well start to appeal outside of China. For example, Audi displayed an A6 with integrated teacup warmers and seat massage units – extras possibly now coming to a Mini Coupé near you.
‘Right now I’m 125 pounds and five foot, eleven inches, but my “rock weight” was 160. I think I’m a sexy beast at 160, but Gwyneth is the one who told me that if you want to act, and I do want to get back to acting, “You are your own advertisement.”‘