Alps Electronics has decided to take the occasionally annoying sensitivity of some capacitive trackpads to a new extreme, demoing a technology that can accurately sense fingers without coming in direct contact with them. The system is able to sense movements at an admittedly modest range of 3cm, from which distance users can control applications with a range of gestures.
While the raw tech isn't new (capacitive proximity sensors have been around in other forms for a while), this application is, and could prove useful in situations where the sterility is necessary. Alps says that they've still got a few problems to address, namely that device "often malfunctions." Of course, there's also the fact that using one of these things will invariably make you look like you're trying to perform a magic trick and/or dramatically faith-heal your laptop, two of the most surefire methods for remaining alone for the rest of your life. [TechOn]