ZeroTouch 'optical multi-touch force field' makes a touchscreen out of just about anything

The rise of tablets and smartphones has made the touchscreen a rather ubiquitous interface, but they aren't everywhere quite yet. A group of students from Texas A&M intend to change that, however, with the invention of ZeroTouch: a seemingly empty picture frame that lets you turn any surface into an interactive touchscreen. It might not look like much, but ZeroTouch is packing a series of pulsing LEDs and infrared sensors that turn that blank space into a highly sensitive surface. Basically, the strategically placed LEDs cover the open area in a sheet of invisible light. When a hand or stylus enters the picture (or lack there of), those beams are interrupted, providing cues to a piece of software that tracks the object's movement -- and boom! You've got a touchscreen. Of course, this isn't the sort of thing that's going to make it to market anytime soon, but you can check out ZeroTouch rocking the rippling water effect in the video below.