Sony Corp exhibited its "Hyper Skin" spatial sensor in the booth for the "TransferJet" near-field data transmission at CEATEC Japan 2011.
Sony considers the Hyper Skin as a next-generation touch panel. This technology detects an object (like a hand) that is 10 to 20cm away from the sensor by using an electric field and detecting its change (capacitance type).
This type of touch panel is no longer uncommon, but Sony stressed its novelty by saying, "It features a very high sensitivity. We have already taken a patent on this technology."
Sony launched seven development projects under the theme of "interaction design." And the Hyper Skin belongs to a project called "Responsive Surfaces" and seemingly has a concept of an "interface that senses a presence."
In the booth, Sony demonstrated interactive digital signage by using the Hyper Skin with book stands. Specifically, the Hyper Skin was attached on the back of the stands that held books. When a hand was extended to grab a book, the Hyper Skin detected the approaching hand, and the description of the book was shown on the display located behind the book stands.
Nothing was attached to the books. And each book stand (each sensor) was linked with the description of the book it held.
However, when the Hyper Skin is used in this way, it is necessary to place a book in the right book stand. It is possible to realize a similar function by, for example, attaching RFID tags to books. Furthermore, books can be placed in any place with this method.
Commenting on this point, Sony said, "Some book stores consider that the Hyper Skin will be more convenient than RFID tags, which require the user to handle tags."