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News

3M touch Screens provide fun, user-friendly, intuitive computer access

3M Europe : 02 August, 2005  (New Product)
3M Touch Systems announces enhanced focus on touch technology for the education sector. When combined with touch, educational software products enable children in mainstream as well as special needs education to interact with a PC for the development of co-ordination and IT skills at an early age.
The Ridgeway nursery school in Farnham, Surrey, had been running a variety of educational games software for use on a touch screen PC encouraging the children to engage in an intuitive and direct way. The touch screen was having a positive effect on all the children but nursery staff were particularly excited by the progress one child was making and shared their excitement with her parents.

Three-year old Imogen George, who has special educational needs, was attracted to a touch-enhanced game called Touch Balloons, designed by Inclusive Technology, for its extensive use of colour, its large, clear graphics and easy navigation. When Imi touched the screen to burst the balloons this created a direct and obvious link between cause and effect which was helping to improve skills such as hand-eye co-ordination. Seeing the positive results of this interaction, her parents felt she would benefit enormously from having a touch screen PC at home.

After investigation of the market and available technologies, Imi's father, Jonathan, selected a MicroTouch M150 15' flat panel monitor with ClearTek capacitive touch screen and USB interface from 3M Touch Systems. 'Integrating the screen with our home PC was easy; plugging into the PC's USB socket saw the touch functions up and running straight away,' commented Mr George. 'The model has integrated speakers and a microphone, which helps to closely link the sound with the graphics. It also comes with an adjustable stand enabling us to easily change the angle of the flat panel to suit Imi's needs.'

The George family are now researching educational software that makes the best use of the touch capability, to help Imi move forward as far and as quickly as she can.

'Child-computer interaction should be encouraged and developers of educational software are recognising the potential that touch holds,' commented Nick Hughes, European Marketing Executive, 3M Touch Systems UK. 'The experiences of Imi George, and the other nursery children, confirm the unique value this technology can add compared to conventional user interfaces. Clearly there remain many opportunities for educational software developers to further optimise products and thereby draw even greater advantages from using the benefits of touch.'

Touch screen technology has much to offer the education sector. The experiences of developers working in the educational software field will also lead to exciting new tools for teaching, medical practice, training in industrial processes or equipment such as POS terminals, kiosks and many other PC-based applications and uses.
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