Whenever a new tablet gets released the main question that gets asked about its touchscreen is “what’s the resolution?” It seems to be taken for granted that the capacitive touch display will just work, and we all accept a certain amount of finger lag when using it.
The reason for this is the typical latency of a touchscreen is around 100ms. That’s why if you are drawing quickly on the screen your finger gets ahead of what is happening on the display. Is that acceptable? Microsoft thinks not.
Paul Dietz works in the Applied Sciences Group at Microsoft, and he’s been working on improving the latency of touchscreens. What they have achieved is to decrease the latency of a touch panel down to just 1ms. That’s fast enough to keep up with the quickest finger movements.
The video above gives a great demonstration of the difference the super low latency makes. Even at 10ms the lag is noticeable, but 1ms makes it as close to perfect finger tracking as it will ever get.
So now you want a 1ms touchscreen, where do you sign up? Well, there’s no planned device using the tech as far as we know. It is just a Microsoft Research project that points out why we need faster touchscreens. Whether it ever becomes viable as a touchscreen is unknown.
One thing is for sure: eventually touchscreen latency will become a selling point for a manufacturer. When the Retina Display resolution demonstrated on the new iPad is the norm, you need another selling point to make your tablet stand out among the competition. A faster response, especially for gaming, sounds like a great marketing opportunity if nothing else, so I’m pretty sure that 100ms average latency will start dropping as the next few waves of tablet appear.
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