A new generation of highly sensitive, bendable touch screens may be the future of the mobile user interface. The screen technology, called XSense, was developed by Atmel, a San Jose, Calif.-based semiconductor manufacturer that makes hardware used in Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note products.
While the merits of the new, flexible screens may seem predominantly aesthetic at first glance, there are actually several important advantages to the design. Namely, they use thinner, larger sensors that require less power to run.
According to a promotional video released by Atmel, the screens offer "larger, sharper displays, longer battery life [and] new ways to use touch." Utilization of these improvements could potentially lead industrial designers to innovate with touch display technology in ways that might make your average "Star Trek" gadget look charmingly retro.
In addition to edgeless smart phones and tablets, the new screens, which are based on a proprietary roll-to-roll metal mesh technology, may be applied to products from watches to espresso machines.
Production quantities of the XSense touch sensors will be available in the third quarter of 2012.