Touchcode aims to kill the QR code with invisible printed multitouch commands

first_imgIn a world where mobile technology permeates almost every corner of our culture, there have been many attempts to create novel interaction with our devices and to add value to the experience they offer. Armed with smartphones and tablet devices, consumers are always looking for a new way to interact with technology but have been almost jaded when the latest fad turns out to be nothing but a smokescreen.Come and gone are things like trying to “beam” your personal information from your Palm Pilot to a friend’s PDA and the tiresome QR codes that seem to be printed on everything, yet never want to be scanned no matter how still you hold your phone’s camera. As a chronic early adopter, it has gotten the point that I have thrown up my hands and decided to sit back and wait until something truly exciting comes down the chain for me to get excited about. Which, as you may have guessed, has happened. Last week I had the opportunity to my hands on a new printing technology is a fresh take on creating meaningful interactivity for both consumers and retailers alike. Called Touchcode, it’s the brainchild of Sascha Voigt and his company, Printechnologics.With the tagline “paper goes digital,” Printechnologics has a vision of reinventing the printed page. As you saw in the video, instead of looking to do away with paper altogether, the company has created a fusion between the print and digital mediums we are so accustomed to, and has brought some harmony to the dueling methods of information dissemination. While Amazon is proving that consumers are ready to make the move to a digital lifestyle, the sales of magazines and other print publications show that people still value actually having something in their hands to bring value to a purchase. Voigt and his team fully grasp this, a fact that’s apparent when you experience how symbiotic the two mediums can be.Touchcode can be created on everyday printers without having to retool and reconfigure production chains, and is backward compatible with any device that has a capacitive touchscreen with multi-touch capability.While Voigt wouldn’t go into the exact details on how his company accomplished this, he did explain that the only thing that is “special” about the Touchcode process is the ink that is used for the printing. Calling it a “reflective” ink, Voigt stated that his team had developed a way to store information in a print that would mimic a complex multi-touch gesture to a capacitive touchscreen. This allows companies to hire developers to create triggers that bring a whole new layer of experience to mobile computing.One of the things you really pick up from Voigt when talking with him is the excitement he has about the possibilities the Touchcode presents to the world. While I can’t state everything he talked about (he tends to get excited and talk about deals that have yet to be cemented), I can get you thinking in the right direction. Touchcode is a mature technology, this isn’t some pie-in-the-sky idea that is being proposed. Printechnologics is in talks with many large companies about products using the new process. Think baseball cards, very popular card games, and large label print publications and you will get an idea of the pace of adoption of Touchcode.While this technology certainly won’t replace burgeoning communications protocols like NFC, I think it’s safe to say that it’s compelling enough to become a standard for consumers the world over. In fact, in Israel Printechnologics teamed up with a soccer league to create a “fantasy football” game for fans using trading cards. Each pack of cards was printed using Touchcode technology and would interact with a free application for fans to download. Each week, armchair soccer managers would scan in a team of players into their tablet devices and build a team that they thought would garner the most points. To say this campaign was wildly popular would be an understatement as the company that produced the trading cards sold 3 million packs in a short period of time.If a campaign of this nature can be so successful overseas, imagine the adoption it would enjoy in America during the football season! By now you should be understanding the excitement you heard in my video demo at the top of the post. The sky is the limit when it comes to Touchcode and the bridge that it offers to retailers and consumers alike.last_img