HoloTouch acquires touch-less actuation and control technology

Darien, Conn. - HoloTouch Inc. announced April 23 that its founder and president, R. Douglas McPheters, has been granted U.S. Patent 6,377,238 for "holographic control arrangements."

By Control Engineering Staff April 30, 2002

Darien, Conn. – HoloTouch Inc. announced April 23 that its founder and president, R. Douglas McPheters, has been granted U.S. Patent 6,377,238 for “holographic control arrangements.” This technology, which has been assigned to HoloTouch, allows operators to actuate and control a wide variety of electronic devices by passing fingers through three-dimensional holographic images of what would otherwise be keys or buttons of those devices, floating in the air at a location convenient to the user.

The Patent Office summarized this technology as “operator input into one or more devices to be controlled by the operator is provided through a holographic image of the keys or other input devices customarily actuated to provide input data to the system wherein actuation of the holographic image of the input devices is detected optically without tangible physical contact by the operator with a solid control object or control surface.”

Human interfaces using HoloTouch technology project colorful, larger-than-life, three-dimensional holographic images of keyboards or icons on touch-screens into the air from the devices they actuate or control, free of all physical structures. The operator actuates and controls equipment by “touching” portions of those images. Utilizing wave source technologies, an infra-red detector or laser scans the plane of those holographic images, sensing which command has been selected and transmitting the operator’s choice to the equipment.

Since no moving parts are involved, the interface impervious to dirt, heat, moisture, shock, and other factors that interfere with precise and reliable operation of human interfaces in industrial and outdoor settings. Since nothing must be touched to input commands, all hygiene concerns are neatly bypassed, offering advantages for medical devices as well as high-traffic consumer equipment such as bank cash machines, kiosks, and telephones. For devices involving entry of sensitive information in public places such as bank cash machines, the technology offers added security because its holographic images can only be read from directly in front of the device. It is also enabling for physically challenged people because no strength is required to use it and for sight-impaired people, since its large but sharp images are easy to interact with, even with strong vision correction. And, unlike voice recognition software, this technology allows direct, precise control of sophisticated devices.

The technology is also protected by a previously issued United Kingdom patent and patents pending in other major industrial countries.

Holotouch’s Web site at https://www.holotouch.biz is still under construction. Please contact Mr. McPheters at mcpheters@att.net for more information.

Control Engineering Daily News DeskGary A. Mintchell, senior editor gmintchell@cahners.com