Microsoft Reduces Touchscreen Lag To 1ms

9 Mar/12

One of the issues with most touch-enabled devices on the market today is that they have a visible input lag when you work with them. According to research Microsoft conducted, the lag’s about 100ms on modern touchscreen devices, with some devices having less lag, and some even more than that. The effect is less visible on devices with smaller screens, handhelds or smartphones for example, and more visible on tablets and other larger touch-enabled devices.

To put it in understandable terms: The average user moves the finger at about 1 meter per second on touch devices, and a lag of 100ms would mean that the response lags a tenth behind on the screen (which is 10 centimeters).

Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group published a video that is demonstrating some of the improvements that they have come up with to reduce the input lag down to 1ms. If you put that into perspective, the input lag would be reduced to 0.1 centimeters which makes it more or less invisible to the human eye.

The research term has released a video that demonstrates the device’s capabilities.

Applied Sciences Group: Interactive Displays: High-Performance Touch

The video demonstrates the difference between 100ms and 1ms input lag in realtime and footage taken at 1/8 speed to visualize it even better.

Reducing the input lag to 1ms gives the interaction with the device a more natural feel, which the majority of touch-based applications could benefit from.

Microsoft is showing off a prototype device in the video, and it is not clear if and when this technology will be available on the market.

If you are testing the lag on your touch-based devices, would you say that it is noticeable, barely noticeable or not noticeable at all? I tested it on my Samsung Android phone and lag was noticeable despite the small size of the screen.

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