There may finally be a compromise between the world of ever-shrinking electronic devices and our ever-expanding fingers.
A prototype device called the NanoTouch features a 2.4-inch screen and a touch-sensitive pad of the same size on the back, according to a video demonstration on NewScientist.
Using the touch pad on the back, users can manipulate icons on the screen in front without obscuring the target with their fingers, creating an experience resembling transparency.
Researchers say tests showed that targets as small as seven-tenths of an inch wide were easy to select using the NanoTouch. Targets on conventional touch screens are typically at least twice that size.
The NanoTouch is intended to demonstrate an evolving technology that focuses on making user interfaces practical on small devices. Developed by Microsoft Research and Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany, the technology is expected to be unveiled in April at the Computer/Human Interaction conference in Boston.