Survey by Canatu: The Future of Wearable Touch Devices

Few months ago Bob Senior from Canatu presented at our WT I Wearable Technologies Conference 2014 I USA in San Francisco. Canatu is an award-winning innovator of carbon nanotube-based flat, flexible and formable touch screens and touch sensitive surfaces.

Canatu explored the “Future of wearable touch devices” with a survey. Find out what the respondents think about the wearable technology market and how flexible touch interfaces can improve the user experience.

And for those interested in learning more about the company’s background in the following a few questions to Canatu’s CEO Risto Vuohelainen:

  1. Canatu is making transparent conductive films for flat, flexible or formable touch devices. You also have developed a special product for wearable devices. What makes the CNB™ Flex Film especially suitable for wearables?

Canatu’s CNB Flex Film can be repeatedly flexed or bent on tight curvature without an effect on its electrical conductivity, which makes it an ideal material for touch sensors that need to be bent, flexed or formed. This kind of truly flexible touch sensor material gives design freedom for industrial designers creating the next generation wearable products. Additionally the optical properties of our films are excellent. Our touch films maintain the outdoor readability and the contrast of the underlying display due to the ultra-low reflectance and zero haze of the material itself.

  1. For what wearable form factors did you already provide display solutions so far? Can you share a customer’s name where your product is already built in?

We are supplying our films for several wearable projects that are in the prototyping phase now. Products vary from flat sport watches to flexible “around the wrist” type of smart devices. Unfortunately, we cannot disclose the names of the customers yet.

  1. What is the advantage of touch over other interaction options with wearable devices? For which applications touch is especially great?

The touch will enable wearable manufacturers to get rid of the mechanical buttons. The button-free designs can be made easier to be water proof and dust and germ-free. With touch being the main user interface in smart phones since the first iPhones arrived, we have become so accustomed to having touch interaction with the devices around us that it is almost impossible to imagine a bendable or wearable device without the touch. Touch can be applied in almost any application, ranging from consumer electronics, smart watches, portable devices to household appliances and car dashboards.

  1. What do you think are the major technical challenges that have to be overcome before truly flexible touch-enabled wearable products can hit the markets?

During the last years we have seen a lot of progress in different technological areas that can enable truly flexible electronics products. Four main challenges are the display, the battery, the touch, and their integration. Fortunately, there are thin and flexible OLED displays, extremely small wearable size or flexible batteries and Canatu’s flexible touch now available to markets.

  1. For you personally what is your favorite wearable device?

Fitness monitor wristband by one of our customers

And now it’s your turn dear reader. What’s your opinion on Future of wearable touch devices?