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Microsoft wants to make touch panels faster
Microsoft wants to make touchscreens much faster


By Rasmus Larsen (@flatpanels)
12 Mar 2012

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All touch screens suffer from a delay or input lag. Microsoft's research team wants to make touch screens much faster and has set a goal to reduce input lag on touch screens to just 1 ms (millisecond).

1 ms touch panels

Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group conducts research into new technologies, including touchscreens. They dream about a future where touchscreens in smartphones & tablets will be lightning fast.

Microsoft wants to make touch screens much faster
Microsoft wants to make touch screens much faster


Microsoft notes that most touch screens in tablets and smartphones suffer from input lag (delay) of 100 ms or more. In the video at the bottom Microsoft demonstrates the difference between 100, 50, 10 and 1 ms - and the difference is more significant than you might think. The demonstration has not been conducted on an actual touchscreen but instead on a surface with a projector below. It reveals that Microsoft still has some work to do but the official goal is to reach 1 ms in the future.

Microsoft’s premise that smartphones and tablets suffer from 100 ms input lag or more is not false. Input lag is provided on the specifications sheet and is rarely measured. Input lag is also affected by processor power and operating system and for example Tom's Hardware notes that the iPhone 4 had input lag of 120-140 ms but that the iPhone 4S only suffers from 80-90 ms. This might suggest that the added processor power in the iPhone 4S has a lot to say. We should also point out that input lag typically increases for the second, third and fourth touch command in a sequence.

The operating system can also prove to be a bottleneck. One Android programmer reveals how the Android operating system does not prioritize touch commands. Sometimes touch commands are queued which results in lag. This happens because the Android system was originally designed for physical buttons and later upgraded with touch capabilities.

See Microsoft's video demonstration below and judge for yourself:





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