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Domotique, Equipement-technique-énergie, Informatique industrielle
Window-sized touch screens make shops and streets interactive
Talking, touch-screen bus shelters are scheduled to arrive on Paris and Brussels streets next year. Made of ordinary glass, they will show or speak information at a tap or a word - without using microphones or loudspeakers vulnerable to vandals.
Timetables, maps, weather forecasts, emergency services and audible advertisements could all be at pedestrians’ fingertips, says inventor Jean-Pierre Nikolovski of Intelligent Vibrations in Paris. "It’s a novelty and a tool," he says. Nikolovski hopes that his giant touch-screens will also transform window-shopping into an interactive experience.
"It is pretty amazing", says Chris Matthews of technology-development company CVI Products in Coventry, UK, who is starting to sell the screens. Expanding other types of touch-screen can be expensive or fragile using current display technologies, Matthews explains. Information points, for example, often have screens coated with a thin layer that stores electrical charge, which is altered by a fingertip touch.
Instead, Nikolovski transforms standard glass into an interactive window via its vibrations. [Tapping the screen creates a circle of vibrations, like the ripples in a pool. These travel through the glass to sensitive detectors at each corner that calculate where the screen was tapped. "We can handle giant surfaces," says Nikolovski. Linked to customized software, a tap can summon videos on a TV behind the window or activate Internet hotlinks projected onto the glass. Speaking into the glass creates sound vibrations that detectors can also locate and record, claims Nikolovski, allowing passers-by to log a message or opinion.] Recently he has added a talkback feature – electrical vibrations can be transferred to the glass so it behaves like a giant loudspeaker.
But Nikolovski is already in negotiations about the bus stops with French and Belgian manufacturers. "You could listen to the radio while leaning against bus-shelter glass," he says.
Table-top jukeboxes and coffee tables with in-built video conferencing are also on Nikolovski’s to-do list. But his dream application is a multiftinctional restaurant table, offering music and recipes to accompany your snack. "While you have a French meal, a travel agency could organize your trip to France," he says.
16 September 2002 – Helen Pearson
Nature News Service / MacMillan Magazines Ltd 200
1/ Dans un compte rendu EN FRANÇAIS de 150 mots environ (+ ou - 10 %), vous présenterez de façon synthétique cette nouvelle technologie. (8 points)
2/ Traduire EN FRANÇAIS depuis « Tapping the screen… » jusqu’à « …to log a message or opinion. ». (5 points)
3/ Answer the question IN ENGLISH (7 points) : Give examples of the various domains where that new technology could be applied. Will those new kinds of technologies be useful in your everyday life? Why? Why not? Justify. (120 words ± 10 %)
Durée : 2 heures - L'usage d'un dictionnaire bilingue est autorisé
© Christian Lassure - English For Techies