Skip to Content

CES: Next Year’s Touchscreens Will Go Right to the Edge (Almost)

The bulky bezels framing of the screens on today’s tablets are set to shrink.
January 10, 2011

For all their fashionable desirability, the sleek new tablets and countless other touchscreen devices unveiled at CES last week could still be easier on the eye. Cutting down the blocky black bezels that surround their strokable panels is one obvious strategy, but it’s one that designers have not been totally free to pursue. That’s about to change, though, says materials firm 3M, which predicts that next year’s tablets will have screens that run much closer to their edges.

Credit: 3M

A touchscreen has a transparent conducting mesh beneath its surface that detects changes in capacitance when your finger nears. At the screen’s edges that mesh links to circuits that collect those signals for processing, and the space those circuits need is one of the limits on bezel size. 3M now says it has found a way to shrink them, by using silver rather than Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) to trace out both the honeycomb mesh behind the screen, and the electrodes at the panel’s edge.

Using silver instead of ITO allows the width taken up by a given set of traces at the edge of a touch panel to be cut by an order of magnitude, says Craig Sykora, a 3M product development manager for the tech. “It gives the ability to push the edge of the display all the way out,” he says, “which could give a much better consumer experience.”

Using silver, which has higher conductivity than ITO, also makes the panel respond to touches fast. A demonstration screen showed that the new technique yielded a response time of just 6 milliseconds, compared to a typical 60 ms response using ITO. That could help tighten the gaming experience on the more powerful tablets currently in development.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

mouse engineered to grow human hair
mouse engineered to grow human hair

Going bald? Lab-grown hair cells could be on the way

These biotech companies are reprogramming cells to treat baldness, but it’s still early days.

Death and Jeff Bezos
Death and Jeff Bezos

Meet Altos Labs, Silicon Valley’s latest wild bet on living forever

Funders of a deep-pocketed new "rejuvenation" startup are said to include Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner.

ai learning to multitask concept
ai learning to multitask concept

Meta’s new learning algorithm can teach AI to multi-task

The single technique for teaching neural networks multiple skills is a step towards general-purpose AI.

conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned
conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned

A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click

Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.