Quote: "So my finger wouldn't necessarily have to touch it, just be very close?"
Exactly. As far as I know, most touch screens don't even have any conductive material exposed at all. As Comet said, the device can sense a finger on three dimensions, so I am sure a lot of devices can detect your finger's presence before it even makes contact. Neat technology it is!
Quote: "In the image, it shows a glass layer. This wood touchpad is supposedly raw wood."
The image Comet posted? As far as I know, any thin, non-conductive layer works.
"It also shoots blue flames sometimes, which is startling in the most exquisite of ways." -- Self