Turn TVs Into Interactive Signs For $200 With New Gadget


The same crowd that is endlessly looking to cut display hardware, playback hardware and software costs out of digital signage projects will likely be intrigued as heck by a new IndieGogo project that turns any TV with an HDMI connector into a touch and stylus controlled display.

Called Touchjet Wave, it’s a device that clamps on the top of a flat screen TV in the same way you can clamp a third-party web camera on top of your monitor. The gadget beams an infrared overlay on the monitor and that reads and responds to fingers or a stylus poking away at the display surface.

So if you want touch capability on a large flat screen, you wouldn’t need a commercial panel with either a built-in or third party touch overlay (or IR edges). For $200, this gadget would plug into the HDMI port and do the business on a $300 40-inch flat panel TV from Costco.

It’s a bit like what NYC’s Perch Interactive does, except they have an overhead camera sensing hand movements that respond to what the attached projector is beaming on a surface, like a table, below it.

So what’s going on here? It’s effectively an Android computer running an ARM processor and version 4.4 of the operating system – hence the low cost and the ability to run interactive apps.

The campaign just went up and is already past its funding goal – driven in part by a 50% off $99 early-bird deal.

If you watch the video demos you will see the thing does indeed work, albeit with a little tender loving touch. Some of the scrolling and pinching is done very slowly and carefully, as this thing does not snap away like a fully-engineered Microsoft Surface Hub or Multitouch system.

Which shouldn’t happen, given it’s a $200 gadget that isn’t even shipping until the end of Q1 2016.

Is this a problem for companies that sell proper touch surfaces and integrated screens? Maybe, but not likely. If anything, this sort of thing will act as a starter device for end-users who’ve thought about adding touch, but couldn’t rationalize the added cost.

With this, they can start fiddling and trying things, and if interactive screens is deemed a key part of what they do, they can upgrade to commercial gear.

This set-up would need to be in pretty controlled settings – because that Touchjet thing is going to otherwise getting whacked and swatted and even,l umm, permanently borrowed. But in a real estate office or hair salon that wants to whip customers through some listings or visual ideas, this could/would be pretty cool.

I ordered one for giggles, so I’ll tell you how it does come march or April next year.




Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than a decade. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Toronto.
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  • John Baggott says:

    I have seen a few solutions to make a normal screen touch, but in a public environment, and without a toughened protective screen, there is always a chance the LCD panel will get broken with a prod from an overzealous finger.

    • Dave Haynes says:

      John, agreed. I don’t think this sort of thing lasts in a public environment, but in a controlled, small scale retail environment where access to the screen has some control, I could see this having possibilities. It’s in no way a replacement for the great touch technologies out there, but there’s a significant buyer base that will never spend the money on that tech.

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