To say that touch screens are popular today would be an understatement, and touchable trackpads like the type you find on laptops have been popular long before that. So what's next for touch technology? Everything else, if research from the University of Munich and the Hasso Plattner Institute pans out. Utilizing a technology known as time domain reflectometry, a pulse is sent through a wire every time it's touched until it hits a detector, which reflects the pulse back. Based on the speed of the pulse and the time it takes to return, software can pinpoint the starting point of the pulse. The touch-sensitive wire can be placed onto any regular item — the wire can even take the place of a guitar string, while a wire pattern can be embedded inside deformable objects like clothes.
This isn't the first use of TDR — the technology has been popular in finding faults on long cable cords — but the technology has just recently gotten accurate enough for commercial usage. The only problem now is that a powerful computer and complicated software need to be connected to get these wires to work. However, with the shrinking of powerful mobile processors, the researchers are confident that they can assign the generation, detection, and calculation of the pulse onto a chip, allowing everything in the near future to respond to your touch. Check out a video of it below.