Microsoft Joins Apple In Commercializing Multi-Touch Screens

from the coming-to-a-consumer-near-you dept

Multi-touch technology is going mainstream. Researchers have been talking about the power of multi-touch technology for quite some time. It's often referred to as "Minority Report" technology, as a multi-touch interface was used by characters in the movie, but it's been around for much longer. It got another burst of attention last year thanks to Jeff Han's demo of a multi-touch screen at the TED conference. However, it's always been in the realm of science fiction or research departments until recently. Apple famously is using a multi-touch interface on the iPhone, and tonight Microsoft announced a multi-touch interface for its new Microsoft Surface products -- which are more along the lines of what Jeff Han demonstrated. Basically, it's large screen-focused systems for interacting with content using a multi-touch interface. It's not quite down to the consumer level yet, as it appears Microsoft's first customers are mainly for commercial kiosks. Actually, almost all of the original customers are casinos -- with the one exception being T-Mobile, who will use it as a kiosk for providing info on mobile phones. However, what's pretty clear is that big tech companies are adopting the multi-touch interface in a big way -- and that likely means that we'll start seeing it in many more areas, especially within consumer devices. This doesn't mean an end to the mouse and keyboard as core input devices -- but multi-touch certainly opens up a whole new way of interacting with computing devices that can make them much more useful in ways that simply weren't possible with just a mouse and keyboard.

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  1. identicon
    Egat, 30 May 2007 @ 7:11am

    Re: Written by consumers, not techies

    There is an incredible amount of innovation in this product. Common resistive touchscreens are incapable of even detecting multiple touches, let alone resolving them. There's a BIG difference (invention AND innovation) between multi (or even dual) touch detection and resolving the actual location of multiple fingers across a single touch sensitive screen.

    The pictures I've seen of the MS demo seem to be resolving 8-10 simultaneous touches. That is incredibly innovative. The Jeff Han demo is able to do the same, however his company Perceptive Pixel doesn't have anything for sale yet.

    It's been a while since you've done anything with a touch-screen if you think you need a stylus for accurate input. There are cell phones in Japan which allow the user to draw kanji on their keymat with just a finger. Again, the older resistive technology usually required a stylus to be effective, but newer technologies do not.

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