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From Tamagotchis to Touchscreens: A Journey Through the Evolution of Interactive Technology

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

It's hard to believe that, just a few decades ago, the height of interactive technology was the original Tamagotchi.


Today, we have smartphones with more computing power than NASA used to send astronauts to the moon! The evolution of interactive technology has been nothing short of remarkable - and it's been a wild ride.


Let's take a trip down memory lane and reminisce about the good old days of interactive tech. Do you remember playing Snake on your Nokia 3310? Or sending MSN messenger instant messages to your friends and hearing that familiar chime? Those were the days!


But as much as we love to laugh at "old" technology, we have to admit we wouldn't be where we are today without it.


The first computer mouse was invented in the 1960s, and the first touch screen was developed in the 1970s by Dr. Samuel C. Hurst. He invented a touch sensor called the Elograph that could detect the coordinates of a touch on a screen using a grid of wires that were crossed by another layer of wires. The Elograph was not transparent like modern touch screens, however, it was a significant milestone in touch screen technology.

Dr. G. S. "Sam" Hurst, founder of Elographics, shaking hands with a colleague

Photo: Dr. G. S. "Sam" Hurst (left), founder of Elographics. Photo Credit: Elo Touch Solutions


Touchscreen technology moved on in the mid 2000's, with Quintessence proudly at the leading edge. Using a technique called "blob detection", an early adopter multitouch touch table was developed. This involved shining infrared light through the acrylic display surface and reflecting it back to internal sensors. When a finger or other object touched the screen, it disrupted the light path and caused a change in the amount of light detected by the sensors. By using multiple sensors and advanced software algorithms, screens were able to interpret multiple touches.

An early touchscreen on a home work bench surrounded by tools and wires

Photo: Working on an early Quintessence-manufactured multitouch screen


These early innovations laid the foundation for the technological revolution that was to come.


Fast forward to today, and we have virtual and augmented reality, voice-activated solutions and even wearable technology. Interactive technology has become an integral part of our daily lives, and its impact has been felt across all industries, including retail, property and education.


In retail, interactive technology has transformed the shopping experience. Customers can now use their smartphones to compare prices, read reviews, and even make purchases on the go. Retailers are using interactive displays, augmented reality, and virtual try-ons to engage customers and drive sales. And with the rise of e-commerce, retailers can now gather vast amounts of data about their customers and use that information to personalise their offerings and improve the shopping experience.


Interactive technology is having a significant impact on the property sector too, improving the way properties are marketed, sold, managed and used. Interactive touchscreens and virtual tours allow new home buyers to visualise themselves living in a home that's not yet built, while also allowing the property sector to harness data to improve decision-making and gain insights into trends.


In education, interactive technology is being used to create engaging and interactive learning experiences for students. From online courses to virtual enrichment activities, technology is expanding the boundaries of what's possible in the classroom and providing new opportunities for students to learn and explore.


A red original Tamagotchi with three small buttons and a tiny screen

Photo: Tamagotchi's were first introduced in Japan in 1996 and quickly became a global phenomenon


We can't ignore the evolution of the much-loved Tamagotchi too; it's firmly back on the Christmas lists of excited kids and nostalgic adults. More advanced versions have been released in recent years, with colour screens and touch interfaces. They've also introduced mobile app versions of Tamagotchi that can be played on smartphones and a Tamagotchi watch.


What does this tell us? This beloved toy demonstrates how interactive technology can provide engaging, immersive experiences and has the potential to continuously evolve and innovate to meet the changing needs and preferences of consumers.


Conclusion


To sum it all up, the evolution of interactive technology has been nothing short of extraordinary. We've come a long way, and there's no telling what the future holds.


So, here's to the future of interactive technology and all the amazing things it has in store for us!


Thanks for reading. If you'd like to talk interactive tech, or even just pick our brains, contact us by calling 0204 537 8844, messaging us on Linkedin on or by emailing marketing@quintessenceltd.co.uk

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