Danish bright idea could revolutionise touchscreens

Danish-Chinese joint-venture ready with new prototypes for next generation screens

In 2015, the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, the science publication Videnskab.dk is taking the opportunity to shine the spotlight on Danish research. WaveTouch, a technology invented by researchers at the technical university DTU and the Danish company OPDI, has the potential to revolutionise touchscreens.

The story of the invention’s genesis goes back to 2006, when Jørgen Korsgaard, the head of OPDI, asked the DTU researchers Henrik C Pedersen, Michael L Jakobsen, and Steen Hansen to help him develop a touch panel for a cooking hob that you could use with wet hands.

Pressure-sensitive and cheaper
The result was WaveTouch. Whereas conventional touchscreens work on the principle of the finger completing a circuit on a tiny, invisible electronic grid, WaveTouch is an optical technology that involves directing light into a piece of glass that gets activated when it is touched.

Some of the advantages, along with being usable with wet hands, are that WaveTouch can feel how hard the screen is pressed and it is significantly cheaper.

In 2013 the Chinese company O-Net Communications joined OPDI in a joint venture and invested 3 million US dollars for a 40 percent share of the WaveTouch technology.

O-Net WaveTouch has developed a prototype for use in a watch and is soon to release a prototype for a car navigation system. The company has a team of four in Tåstrup and a further two in Shenzhen, China.