French sensor manufacturer Fogale Nanotech -- historically more of an industrial supplier than a consumer-facing one -- was demonstrating its non-contact capacitive sensors at CeBIT this week and how they might be used for the most consumer-facing application of them all: smartphone interfaces. Fogale had two stations set up, PCs running Windows Phone 7 emulators with the sensors attached out front (oriented like you might place a trackpad on a desk). Though they didn't have any actual phone prototypes on hand with the technology integrated, it's clear that they're trying to drum up support with a manufacturer partner or two; in the meantime, you can get a sense of what's going on by waving your hand over the phone-shaped sensors at the stations. We found that as long as you're within about half inch of the pad, the on-screen cursor flys by in perfect harmony with your finger. Of course, there are plenty of unanswered questions here: deciding on the best user experience for actuating taps is key... but perhaps more importantly, we're not certain that you need your hand waving slightly above your phone while using it anyway. Don't get us wrong, it's super cool -- but are you really that worked up over smudges? Follow the break for a quick video of Fogale's recorded demos plus some time at the live kiosk.
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Fogale Nanotech takes the 'touch' out of 'touchscreen smartphone' at CeBIT