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Holographic patent heralds touch-free controls

01 June, 2002

Holographic patent heralds touch-free controls

A US company has been granted a patent for a technology that allows operators to actuate and control devices by interacting with three-dimensional holographic images of keyboards or other controls that appear to be suspended in the air in front of them.

Instead of the operator making physical contact with the controls, the movements of their fingers are sensed using an infra-red or laser scanner and turned into actuation commands.

The patent has been granted to Douglas McPheters, and has been assigned to HoloTouch, a company of which he is the founder and president.

HoloTouch claims that the non-contact technology has several attractions. For example, because there are no moving parts, the controls are not affected by dirt, heat, moisture or vibration. And because no touching is involved, it is no longer a problem to ensure hygiene.

The technology is also protected by a UK patent. Patents are pending in other countries.

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