Add another one to the (short
) list of obscure things that slipped our net
at CES. 3M, a company concerned with the materials and components that go into your delicious new gadgets, spent its time in Vegas this month discussing a new way for building capacitive touchscreen panels. By employing silver as its conducting material, 3M says it has made it possible to shrink the circuits at the edge of a touch panel by a whole order of magnitude, resulting in finger-friendly screens unhampered by bulky bezels. Additionally, due to silver's high conductivity, response times have been shown to dip down as low as 6ms, which is ten times speedier than the currently used Indium Tin Oxide stuff. It's arguable that neither advancement is revolutionary today
, as bezels serve a purpose in providing a gripping surface for slate devices and touch responsiveness is currently constrained by software lag more than hardware capabilities, but 3M sure looks to have a nice building block for the future. The future being 2012, according to the company's estimates.