3M unveils 84" multitouch tabletop with UHD display, 100-point input

By on January 7, 2013, 6:30 PM

3M is showing off its 84-inch multi-touch table at CES this year and The Verge has provided its own, brief hands-on. Reminiscent of Microsoft's original "Surface" tabletop touchscreen (video), the gigantic capacitive table is the successor to last year's 46-inch model; however, the device is still under development until its expected launch during the second half of this year.

Interestingly, the company's table-sized touchscreen differs from last year's smaller model in a couple of ways -- well, aside from just being huge.

The most obvious difference is a substantial bump in resolution from 1080p (1920 x 1080)  to UHD (3840 x 2160). Additionally, the screen can handle more simultaneous inputs -- 40 at a time. That's double the amount of concurrent touch inputs the old model could handle. The Verge says 3M expects that number to increase to 100 though, before it makes it into production later this year.

3M has also switched from ITO-based sensors to a "wire-based" solution, which the company says allowed them to achieve such a large size without "degrading touch performance". Large touch screens in particular are prone to input lag, an issue which a number of companies have been working to address over the years. There are few specifics on the touch technology being used, but the only "wired-based" touchscreen technologies I've heard of are resistive -- not capacitive -- so this may be a novel technology developed by (or for) 3M.

3M continues to challenge the size limitations of high-performance multi-touch technology, and the investments we have made in developing robust and proprietary PX electronics platform are enabling us to achieve our innovation goals,” says Diego Romeu, business operations manager, 3M Touch Systems. “Our 84-inch multi-touch prototype display demonstrates 3M’s ability to scale PCAP electronics and sensor manufacturing to meet the need of our customers for increasingly larger format touch solutions.

Source: Press release

The company hopes its massive tabletop touchscreen will find homes in schools, museums and possibly even commercial settings. Until then, it looks like its primary home will be Las Vegas, at least for the next few days.

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