Innovative developers at leading phone manufacturer, Nokia, have created a giant touchscreen using a block of ice, a chainsaw and two projectors.
Scientists at the company's Finnish headquarters made the most of the wintery weather to test out their new technology. The result was a two metre wide by 1.5 metre high screen that can react to a simple touch – even if the user is wearing gloves.
The reaction of the screen to gloved or covered fingers is a first for touchscreens, and was enabled through rear-diffused illumination and the use of the same technology used in Microsoft's revolutionary Surface computing system.
The researchers used a simple piece of river ice, which they shaped with a chainsaw before blasting with a heat gun to make it smooth. The system works by shining an invisible light on the back of the block of ice while also focusing cameras on it. Touching the 'screen' then reflects light back to the cameras – making it technically more of a light sensitive, rather than touch sensitive, system.
The captured reflection is then sent to a PC that can process the movement of the hand, sending the data on to another projector which then alters the image appearing beneath the user's hand on the screen.