Freetouch allows contactless interactions with touchscreens

  • August 24, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

In response to the impact of Covid-19 on retailers and other businesses, California-based Freetouch has announced a patent-pending product that enables anyone with a smartphone to interact remotely with shared touchscreens.
Freetouch eliminates the need for physical contact with kiosks, ATMs and other interactive displays.
Shared touchscreens have become more than a potential health and safety risk. With the world adapting to a new pandemic reality, there is a critical need for an immediate and easy upgrade to enable the safe use of existing shared displays, from wayfinding and ordering kiosks, to ticketing and payment stations, to museum interactives and educational experiences.
Freetouch adds a visible cursor overlay to existing PC applications, effectively turning a smartphone into a trackpad for contactless remote control of touchscreens. Users simply snap a QR code to connect to a shared display. No app download or registration is required, and the user’s information remains secure and anonymous.
A responsive and intuitive interface lets users click, drag and scroll and perform multi-touch gestures safely on their own device to interact with touchscreen applications.
A wide variety of businesses that depend on touchscreens for optimal customer experience, such as the Reagan Ranch Center, are struggling with the question of how to re-open safely while preserving customer experience. Former president Ronald Reagan’s home for 25 years and the Western White House during the height of the Cold War, the centre is dedicated to sharing the history of Reagan’s time there with the general public and students, including unique stories and artefacts not found anywhere else. It recently installed Freetouch for its 325 square metre gallery, which features seven touchscreen-based interactives and hosts visitors from around the world. 
“I can’t believe how easy Freetouch was to both install and to use,” said Andrew Coffin, executive director. “Our touchscreens were fully contactless in minutes, and the user experience is faster and more seamless than I imagined was possible.”
360 Chicago, the observation deck located at the top of the iconic John Hancock Building in Chicago, recently reopened to the public with enhanced safety measures in place. Touch-based interactives are front-and-centre for visitors, providing detailed information about the panoramic views.
“Freetouch protects the significant investment we’ve made in our digital visitor experience by providing an elegant, contactless interface for our interactive experiences,” said general manager Nichole Benolken. “We will be able to keep our touchscreens operational rather than power them off, and that helps us maintain the quality of the experience for our guests.”
The idea for Freetouch was born out of countless conversations with clients concerned about their current touch-based installations. Current potential options include gestural interfaces that require complex hardware and software changes and are difficult for users to learn and operate. Freetouch is designed to be a frictionless set-and-forget method that can be installed in minutes and mastered in seconds.
“We’ve determined that the best solution to address this challenge must be intuitive and frictionless for a business’ customers and visitors, without a steep learning curve like gestural input or an obstacle like an app download,” said Darren David, Freetouch CEO. “It should be incredibly easy to install and maintain, obviating the need for new hardware purchases, content development or software programming, and 100% contactless without requiring expensive and wasteful PPE or other consumables. We’ve designed Freetouch to meet all of those criteria. All that’s needed is a quick software install, internet connectivity and a subscription to our service.”
According to David, Freetouch will provide a low barrier-to-entry and high RoI for companies, organisations and attractions needing to provide a contactless interaction option for their physical audiences.
Freetouch enables contactless interaction with shared touchscreens from any smartphone. Users scan an onscreen QR code with their smartphone to connect to and interact with the display in front of them. This is designed for immediate use by retail, banking, hospitality, museum, food service and entertainment industries, anywhere touchscreens are part of the customer or operational experience.
Freetouch was conceived and developed by San Francisco-based Stimulant, an experience design agency that has been developing touch-driven applications for nearly 15 years.