What’s the first thing you’ll do once you get back on the show floor? Probably pump hand sanitizer into your palms and rub them together vigorously. Many people are concerned with the risks of hands-on interactives, so we have some touch-less trade show technology truths to offer and a few myths to dispel.
At NMR we have a whole department dedicated to creating interactive configurations. It starts with the tech, and the experience is built around it to serve a purpose and engage the viewer. Most interactives use your hands to control something, usually by touch but not always. We’ve had touch-less trade show tech for ages, so we dusted it off and did some R&D for the best options.
Hearing “touch-less trade show tech” might bring to mind some gesture based technology. You swipe or do whatever gesture the device is programmed to recognize over the designated area without actually touching anything and get a response. It uses a camera and preset conditions to analyze your movement and seamlessly react. Well, sort of seamlessly.
The Kinect for Xbox (discontinued) and later Leap Motion devices by Microsoft do this best. For certain uses, this is great. Dancing or large gestures are ideal because there is a lot of room for error when the gestures are bigger. Equate this to those big buttons on grandpa’s calculator. Big, non-intricate interactives are where this works. Playing musical chords or rotating a model would be great use cases for this.
Another option for touch-less is a laser that you put your hand through to control. Again, great if you want to play a musical note, like Meow Wolf’s laser harp. Anything more complex and this isn’t the right choice. Regardless, we’ll be seeing more laser beams being used for touch-less application.
Our favorite option is the app or smartphone based solution. With the rise of QR code menus and the like, this looks like the most practical choice. People are comfortable with this tech, and it works. It also allows for a lead capture, which is the best part.
Depending on the complexity, this can look many ways. We’re looking to bring a touchpad experience to your phone screen, allowing you to remote control the tech used. No matter what the use here, this is a well engineered medium that needs a generous timeline.
Remember PalmPilots? The stylus is making a comeback, but thankfully we’re leaving PDAs in the past. Using a stylus to control tech you would otherwise with your finger deserves a notable mention in touch-less. It’s sanitary doesn’t require any changes to existing tech, and leaves your attendee with a little swag.
We wouldn’t race to design any gesture based or truly touch-less tech just yet. The dirty truth is that we still touch things, all day long. Touching things is not going away, and it’s not an unsafe way to experience interactive tech. Extra precautions will also be taken going forward to keep things clean between uses.
Our hesitation with gesture-based and radar laser is that it’s only for special use cases when it will work correctly and not confuse the audience. The takeaway is any content can be integrated into touch-less trade show technology, but the experience must be developed from the ground up. There is no template for something like this, not yet anyway. Given time, NMR can deliver on interactives that are sure to be committed to memory.