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"See-Through" Touchscreen Solves Fat Finger Problem

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the eight-finger-salute dept.

Handhelds 170

Urchin sends along a New Scientist writeup on Microsoft Research's nanoTouch prototype, a way of operating a touch screen from the rear (video here). The prototype will be presented at the Computer and Human Interaction conference in Boston, Mass., in April 2009. Coming soon to a wristwatch or neck pendant near you. "Electronic devices have been shrinking for years, but you might be forgiven for thinking that one that's only a centimeter across would be just too difficult to operate. Microsoft Research's new nanoTouch device suggests otherwise. Touch-screens are difficult to control with any precision — the fingers get in the way of the tiny targets you're trying to hit. But putting the touch interface on the rear of the screen instead gives users more precision because they can still see the whole screen as they interact with it. Microsoft Research has produced a prototype device called nanoTouch with a rear-mounted touch interface. User tests show it lets users accurately and reliably hit targets just 2 millimeters across on a screen under a centimeter across."

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I don't know about you... (5, Funny)

Shadow7789 (1000101) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175167)

but I don't like it when people operate things from the rear.

Re:I don't know about you... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26175397)

That's funny, I hear your mom likes it, hey-o!

Re:I don't know about you... (5, Funny)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175509)

Hey guys, did you know that sometimes innocuous stuff can be rephrased in a way that suggests you're talking about sex?

Re:I don't know about you... (5, Funny)

curtix7 (1429475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175691)

Like that innocuous night me and your mother spent together?

Re:I don't know about you... (1, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176123)

That's what SHE said!!

Re:I don't know about you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26176187)

Awww Snap!

Re:I don't know about you... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26175577)

but I don't like it when people operate things from the rear.

Especially if "fat fingers" are involved.

Re:I don't know about you... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175901)

[citation needed]

Re:I don't know about you... (0)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175705)

Ohhh, first post and the sex innuendos already coming. Or cumming. Hey, gotta go with the flow!

Re:I don't know about you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26175827)

that's not what you said last night...

Re:I don't know about you... (1)

solipsist0x01 (887281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175885)

Who doesn't love the ole' reach around?

Re:I don't know about you... (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175953)

Then that device should be called either:

"Arm-Chair Touch Controller" or

"Monday Morning Touch-Back"

Re:I don't know about you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26176031)

Anyone else see goatse in the New Scientist video? I did :D.

Finally living up to their name (2, Interesting)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175227)

"Micro"soft.

I'll be here all weekend, folks!

Does anybody else think that eventually we might see some sort of tiny "stylus pad" that fits round the end of a finger? It could be a little white dot, so we can see where we're "clicking", there-by further decreasing fat finger syndrome.

Re:Finally living up to their name (3, Funny)

DogAlmity (664209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175587)

Like the Fing-Longer [wikia.com] ?

Re:Finally living up to their name (3, Interesting)

jep77 (1357465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175791)

Does anybody else think that eventually we might see some sort of tiny "stylus pad" that fits round the end of a finger? It could be a little white dot, so we can see where we're "clicking", there-by further decreasing fat finger syndrome.

Maybe something like this? http://www.truetip.com/ [truetip.com]

Re:Finally living up to their name (5, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176465)

We're sorry, the fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now

Obligatory Simpson's (-1, Redundant)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26177075)

"The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now."

I've never heard of this before. (5, Insightful)

Odinson (4523) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175231)

This is first thing in a long time from Microsoft that has truly impressed me. Amazing what you can accomplish with a little fear of competition. If this is truly novel, nice job!

Re:I've never heard of this before. (4, Insightful)

blhack (921171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175291)

What about Surface [microsoft.com] (a multi-touch platform), or their Image compositing software [microsoft.com] ?

Don't worry, I run openbsd, and a few different linuxes, but seriously...microsoft does some interesting stuff! The microsoft-hate that goes on around here is kindof silly.

Re:I've never heard of this before. (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175469)

Surface is just another type of old style touchscreen. You operate it from the front, so your hands and fingers are still in the way of line of sight.

This tech would be if you were reaching under the table. And given they've marketed 'Surface' as something that would be used in a bar...I'm thinking this wouldn't be a fun 'surface' to touch ;-)

Re:I've never heard of this before. (2, Insightful)

joeytmann (664434) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176107)

Well on something as large as a coffee table, I really don't think your hand is going to obscure too much of the screen. On a pocketpc device, yes I have a hard time seeing what I am clicking when using my finger, hence the reason why I still use a stylus.

Re:I've never heard of this before. (4, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175473)

but seriously...microsoft does some interesting stuff! The microsoft-hate that goes on around here is kindof silly.

Blasphemer!

I banish you from Slashdot, and you shall be sacrificed to the all-mighty penguin!

Re:I've never heard of this before. (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175647)

don't worry...I'm sure his computer burst into flames when he hit submit

Re:I've never heard of this before. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176245)

Can I have his /. UID number? In 20 years, I see myself as a four digit man.

Re:I've never heard of this before. (1)

Menkhaf (627996) | more than 5 years ago | (#26177101)

Don't worry, as I see it you're way ahead of yourself. I mean, being a one-bit man is better than a four digit man, right?

Re:I've never heard of this before. (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175561)

Surface reminds me of desks from Enders Game. I can't even start to imagine just how much computer power I would need under that desk to make it work like in the demo.

Re:I've never heard of this before. (2, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175825)

Surface was kind of a stunt, an amalgam that demos superbly doesn't really have any broad application. I notice it gets major placement in the new Day the Earth Stood Still, and they even use the object-recognition when they place objects on the tabletop (though, in the movie as in real life, this is simulated and doesn't actually work without a lot of cheating.)

Photosynth is slick though.

Re:I've never heard of this before. (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176239)

Major placement? I am surprised that Klaatu's suit when he comes out of his sphere-o-craft isn't covered in windows logos. Major placement is one thing, whoring is another.

Re:I've never heard of this before. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176477)

Well, hey, you may also have noticed how every computer screen in the movie was running Vista. Surely the government, particularly top-secret facilities like that, would show more taste?

Re:I've never heard of this before. (5, Informative)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175929)

That image compositing software is extremely awesome. If you'd like to learn more about it, check out this article [istartedsomething.com] .

Re:I've never heard of this before. (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176075)

Don't know about Image composing software, but the concept of 'Surface' has surfaced plenty of times before Microsoft. [billbuxton.com] When I saw this, I immediately remembered back in my days at the UofT, I think I took the HCI class in 97, that's when I first saw the multi-touch screen concept, with ideas of dragging/dropping various windows on the table, overlaying various 'filters', for example one filter would be used for zoom function, another filter would OCR text, another filter would convert file formats etc.

Re:I've never heard of this before. (1)

daedae (1089329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176331)

I think the problem is a lot of the cool stuff is at MSR, so the stuff that sees the light of day is a stripped down or limited. I'd like to be able to play with some of their image manipulation/management software, for instance--whatever thing thing was for generating views through collections of pictures--but last I checked it was web-only, and I don't really care to upload gigs and gigs of photos just to try it out.

Re:I've never heard of this before. (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176499)

I certainly see a lot of interesting things demo'd at Microsoft R&D.

And then get promptly ignored by the rest of the company, and never actually show up for market.

Contrast this to, say, Apple, who never gives demos like that unless they're actually launching the product in the next few months -- or right away.

Microsoft is too large a company to hate entirely. Bungie was part of them for awhile, after all -- I wanted to hate Halo for that, but it ended up actually being a good game. And they do seem to let their R&D department do some interesting things.

Then they let business concerns drive everything else, and we end up with crap like Vista.

Anyone want to guess how much better Microsoft would be with, say, Ballmer gone?

Re:I've never heard of this before. (2, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175317)

We have had news about other devices having the touchpart on the rear earlier on Slashdot, so this isn't something totally new. Unless it was Microsoft that time to. It''s a good solution non the less.

Re:I've never heard of this before. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26175351)

Except Apple already described it a year and a half ago:

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/apple/next-gen-ipod-patent-has-touch-surface-on-back-259271.php

Props to MS for publically demonstrating it first though.

Re:I've never heard of this before. (2, Insightful)

iMac Were (911261) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175739)

If anyone knows how to operate from the rear, it's Apple!

Re:I've never heard of this before. (5, Insightful)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175367)

This is first thing in a long time from Microsoft that has truly impressed me. Amazing what you can accomplish with a little fear of competition. If this is truly novel, nice job!

If you didn't read the article, all they did is put the touch sensitive portion on the back and have that activate a cursor on the front.

At first I thought "Wow, that's a great idea"

Then I thought "Duh, why didn't anyone else think of it?"

Then I thought "Man, that's really limiting" - Imagine how slow typing would be on one of these devices. For each character you'd have to press to see the cursor, adjust for the actual location, then 'lock in' to press the button. Don't get me wrong, it's great for browsing and playing some games, but the Iphone's typing system would be better than this and an actual keyboard is still king.

I do give some props to Microsoft though, I'm glad someone finally thought to do this.

Re:I've never heard of this before. (4, Insightful)

Chirs (87576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175467)

Better would be something that could sense the position of your finger before you actually touch it, so that you could reliably cue in on the cursor position and only touch the sensor when the cursor was correctly positioned.

My own main objection is that most of the time I see people using their touch-screen phone/pda with it nestled in the palm of their hand. Holding it that way you don't have access to the back of the device.

Re:I've never heard of this before. (1)

mewshi_nya (1394329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175777)

So, what you want is something that works like a Wacom table?

You move the stylus (within 2-3 inches of the surface) and the cursor moves. You push the pen to the surface, and it clicks. Is that what you're thinking?

Re:I've never heard of this before. (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175641)

It's likely that if this takes off, that there will be haptic devices, either passive ones like the bumps on the F and J keys, or active ones like a braille teletype, to guide your fingers. Keyboards will always remain king for text input, but for many other domains this could be huge.

Re:I've never heard of this before. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26175771)

I dunno... "User tests show it lets users accurately and reliably hit targets just 2 millimeters across on a screen under a centimeter across."

I'm pretty sure a regular touchscreen is more accurate then to know when you're touching 1/5th the width of the screen.

Re:I've never heard of this before. (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175947)

This is first thing in a long time from Microsoft that has truly impressed me. Amazing what you can accomplish with a little fear of competition. If this is truly novel, nice job!

Dammit, you just said exactly what I wanted to say.
This is impressive. I was recently wondering how they'd get around the size barrier, and I think we have an answer.
I can imagine little devices/screens that mount around your wrist such that you can operate the whole thing easily with one hand.

Re:I've never heard of this before. (1)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176297)

I disagree on that.
I designed video games a long time ago and we used a dot on the screen for pointing a virtual gun. It generated a specific pixel pattern that was recognized by the targeting device. It seems to me that this is just creating a new way to do something when a free way is available in order to control and profit from something that can easily be done with free technology that has existed for 35 years.
I can make a receptor that recognizes a position on a screen and makes positional corrections and selections like a touch screen at a lesser cost. I have also done this with "pick and place" robots that build circuit boards. The identification of the "registration mark" need not even be on the screen itself.
I think the problem with Microsoft is that they _start_ by deciding how to tie the customer to their interface. It just makes one more land mine to somebody who has a similar but better idea.
I recently designed an interface for my keyboard that has two thumb-wheels on either side of the keyboard that I can scroll up and sideways ( to select the absolute dot position where the mouse points (gimp, opengl, and blender positioning)) it seems that this would work just as well and could be far more precise.
This type of thing means that if somebody sees that idea and comes up with something to extend the idea and make it better, it will never happen as they must negotiate with a monopoly to see profit from their idea, and I have been -there- too many times. The share [insert monopoly] offers to new extensions is 0.

Re:I've never heard of this before. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26176459)

The point of this article is that Microsoft internally does really great things. There are some great researchers and engineers at MS but Ballmer and the other executives have zero imagination.

For a CEO or other manager there really isn't much "great" they can do but they can do terrible harm. And there isn't any accountability in US Corporations. Anyone out there who still clings to the myth of US corporate leaders being held accountable to markets and shareholders is likely to also believe in the toothfairy, Santa Claus, and dragons.

There is no accountability at Microsoft and Ballmer is an idiot.

You know what else solves the "fat finger problem" (0)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175243)

I solved the fat finger problem by cutting off your fingers and making them into jerky!

It's a festive Christmas jerky for you to enjoy. Now...eat your own finger! Eat it!

(Just kidding guys, I would only do that if you owed me like, $2000 or more.) Merry Christmas =)

Re:You know what else solves the "fat finger probl (2, Funny)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175347)

The simpsons came up with a somewhat less painful solution.

Operator: The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now.

Re:You know what else solves the "fat finger probl (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176247)

I celebrate Festivus [wikipedia.org] , you insensitive clod!

Re:You know what else solves the "fat finger probl (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176263)

Seriously, I told you I would have your money for you by Thursday!

Awful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26175323)

Non-intuitive, awkward, and from the video it has "shadows" of your fingers with quite a big of jitter so it's hard to tell what you're doing anyway.

Touch technology is just crap anyway. Just give me a device with some buttons on it and stop trying to "improve" things by making them worse.

Really cool and simple idea. (2)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175377)

This is a great idea. It effectively doubles the real-estate usable for interface. You won't get smudges on the screen now. It's more comfortable like they said.

With bigger screen people could even sit opposite you and you could watch what they do.

A face to face game of transparent screen checkers would be sweet.

Unlucky, Apple... (1)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175387)

Can you hear Steve Jobs cursing M$ extra loud today? Not being able to enter text is one (of myriad) reasons why I'd never get an iPhone. In fact, it seems like an incredibly interesting technology which will be almost certainly never used in anything other than M$ products...

Apple has the patent (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26175463)

http://www.slashgear.com/apple-patent-shifts-controls-to-rear-of-ipod-105191/

Re:Apple has the patent (1)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175745)

D'oh. I'm not too happy about apple having it either, though, to be completely honest...

Re:Apple has the patent (2, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175903)

Well, at least Microsoft has sped up their development cycle. Now they're stealing Apple's ideas before Apple has even implemented them.

ObInnuendo: Though somehow I'm not surprised it's Microsoft promoting a new way to take it in the rear.

Re:Unlucky, Apple... (1)

codeonezero (540302) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175853)

More than likely, I can see MS having a hard time with vendors implementing it right, and perhaps simply going up to Jobs and saying "hey you got an iPhone that uses ActiveSync...let's extend that partnership we'll give you a special license deal on this tech - here's what we have in mind for uses with your device - make it happen and we'll take some percent of your profits" and Apple saying "neat, sure - let me see what we can cook up".

Even if Apple and Microsoft compete on several fronts now, when it comes to making money and business sense I'm sure both of the know when to partner up to make something cool even better - if it make sense.

Though I guess it's more fun to imagine some Microsoft vs Apple duel going on where they winning party is the company you like the most.

1cm across? (4, Insightful)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175401)

Some of the inherent inaccuracy has to do with using touchscreen devices while walking, driving (in-car controls), riding mass transit, etc. Under these conditions, even 1cm accuracy is pretty good. I think most users would prefer a larger interface that works every time, rather than a smaller one which can be frustrating to use on a regular basis.

Re:1cm across? (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175609)

I can't even see something 1cm across any more..

Yes!! (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175405)

Yes! They solved the fat-finger problem! Now I won't need to get on a diet and give up greasy, greasy foods, AND I get to play with my toys. Bring in the fried chicken!

!See-Though (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175415)

The somewhat impressive "shadows" of hands seemed laggy and awkward, while it appeared that you actually have to already be touching the back of the smaller device to see where your finger is.

I suppose it's a step towards the future, though.

Why does the screen have to be see-through? (1)

petehead (1041740) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175421)

Why does the screen have to be see-through? Why not just have a touchpad on the back that operates a cursor on the front without any change in existing tech?

Re:Why does the screen have to be see-through? (1)

petehead (1041740) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175523)

Nevermind, I RTFA and that's what they did. the "see-through" part is just a simulation.

Re:Why does the screen have to be see-through? (1)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175535)

Many people will have a hard time getting a feeling for exactly where their fingers are if the screen is not see-through.

Re:Why does the screen have to be see-through? (4, Insightful)

KeithJM (1024071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175789)

Many people will have a hard time getting a feeling for exactly where their fingers are if the screen is not see-through.

Think about the first time you used a mouse. It takes about 20 seconds to get used to the idea that you're moving your hand in two dimensions and the cursor moves in two dimensions, even if you can't watch both at once. If you've used a trackpad on a laptop, it's EXACTLY like this (except it's not on the back of the device). I think you'd be surprised how quickly you'd get used to this.

Re:Why does the screen have to be see-through? (1)

Teresita (982888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175931)

In Soviet Russia, firing squad touches you behind screen, then we see through you.

Re:Why does the screen have to be see-through? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26176879)

This must be the worst attempt at the "In Soviet Russia". You fail.

Re:Why does the screen have to be see-through? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26175543)

because you wouldnt know where ur finger is relative to the screen till you physically touched the sensor. u would end up clicking stuff u didnt want to.

Only if you use a double-mirror (periscope) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26175449)

This could only work if you had the actual touch screen at the usual keyboard-height level facing down at a 45 degree angle away from you in front of a double-mirror (think periscope) so that you would be looking at the actual mirrored display at or the usual monitor-height level and operating the touch-screen from behind at the usual keyboard-height level. That way you'd keep your eyes on the doubly-mirrored image and operating it (blind touching) at the usual keyboard-height level.

only useful for hand-held devices (2, Informative)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175511)

Just put the touchpad on the back of the device.

Yes, it's a novel idea and hopefully one that will catch on. However, it's certainly not practical for "proper" monitors, or coffee-table sized thingys (like the toy microsoft demo'd a couple of years ago). Although I suppose in those cases, there is less need for small targets, as FFS is less of a problem

I still think the whole concept of touch screens for office use is fundementally flawed. It requires you to have your arms raised to operate the screen - which is an unnatural position and very tiring to do for long periods of time. It does look impressive on s.f. files - with guys wavinhg their arms around. However, in terms of results obtained for human energy expended they're very inefficient and I suspect the consequences would make RSI claims pale into insignificance.

Re:only useful for hand-held devices (2, Informative)

yincrash (854885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175589)

surface doesn't require your arms to be raised

Re:only useful for hand-held devices (1)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175871)

... the whole concept of touch screens for office use is fundementally flawed. It requires you to have your arms raised to operate the screen - which is an unnatural position and very tiring to do for long periods of time.

Agreed. But this "see-through" demo shows that an innovation can potentially fix what at first seems to be a major problem. (Of course I won't know if this "see-through" idea is really a valid solution until I have a chance to play with it myself...).

In the case of touchscreen technology, I agree that pressing on a vertical screen would get tiring real quick. And the sometimes-offered solution of having the touchscreen be horizontal (like Microsoft's "Surface") is also non-optimal (it would hurt your neck to sit like that all day).

Here's a potential solution I've been thinking about: a dual device where there is a conventional vertical monitor in front of you and a touchscreen horizontal on your desk. Both display the same image, and you can interact with the horizontal surface via multi-touch. But you can see the result on the more comfortable vertical display, too. Importantly, the system has some way (combining the multi-touch data with camera input, or somesuch) to determine the placement of your hands--so that the outline of your hands (semi-transparent) could be displayed on screen. (In this sense similar to this "see-through" demo, in the sense that it simulates the location of your finger, giving you the feedback you need to manipulate on-screen objects.)

I think this system could work, and might be useful for a variety of applications. The behavior of the touch-surface could of course vary by application (perhaps acting as an array of soft-buttons for some apps, but mirroring the main display for others). Having said all that, I still believe that the keyboard+mouse combo is here to stay--it is a very efficient way to interact with the computer. But I would love to have a multi-touch-screen-tablet thing off to the side that I could use for certain tasks (e.g. conventional tablet tasks like image editing, but also novel multi-touch tasks like sorting images or naturally re-arranging cells in a spreadsheet...).

(Okay, now go ahead and point out all the stupid problems with this idea that I haven't thought of yet...!)

Beware! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26175611)

Yep, it's a scam. I can see right through it.

Umm, 1 cm /2 mm = 5 (0)

monopole (44023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175631)

So we have a 5x5 button grid, something casio has done w/ wrist calculators for 20+ years

typing pool (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175657)

Wouldn't it be simpler to just place a cell phone call to a pool of typists and have them log into your PDA and type the stuff you wanted.

Makes your devices bigger. (1)

ptelligence (685287) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175667)

You'll need more real estate if you can't put electronics behind the screen. I guess you could have a flip up semi-transparent touch screen. Use it from the front when it's down and from the back when you flip it up.

Wristwatch? (3, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175731)

Coming soon to a wristwatch or neck pendant near you.

Ya, I tried pressing my watch from the back, but my wrist got in the way. On the up side, my pulse is strong.

Re:Wristwatch? (1)

Jeheto (1414993) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176745)

Actually, common logic tell me that on the up side there's a small clock that allows you to keep time.

Anyone else thinking people won't like that? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175785)

First, one cm across is a pretty hard to hit target. We're below that already anyway, but let's say one cm. That I "cover" the target with my finger shouldn't be that much of a problem, I guess. People are usually able to memorize the location of that icon they want to press for the fraction of a second it takes to press it. So if it's under my finger, I press it. Easy, huh?

Now, reaching around and tapping it from behind is a bit more tricky. You have to think reverse. It's not as bad as looking in the mirror trying to hit the streak of hair that doesn't budge (left... no the other left... front... I mean, away from you... you get the idea), but it still requires you to adjust to a new way of tapping.

Personally, I don't really want that. I prefer my good ol' fashion touch displays. Now get offa my lawn!

Re:Anyone else thinking people won't like that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26176111)

And when you use a mouse you have to perform a translation and a 90 degree rotation in your head, yet it's surprisingly intuitive. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

M$ see-through touchscreens not that impressive (4, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175887)

Google's already got working prototypes of see-thru fingers.

Re:M$ see-through touchscreens not that impressive (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175949)

I know a guy who for a small fee will make sure you never see your fingers again, or say someone else if they owe you money.

Stupid Question (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175891)

How can you hit a target of 2mm when your finger is a centimeter across?

I would hate to have to use an interface that actually relied on having this level of accuracy from the inputdev. even if they can extract a really good model of where you apply the pressure to the screen, it's not exactly trivial, or even possible, to turn that into an "intended point" or path.

Re:Stupid Question (2, Insightful)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175943)

Do you forget the shape of a finger? Unless you've had a catastrophic accident with a snowblower (as did my father), the shape of the finger is such that a gentle touch can easily hit a small target. We're not talking about pressing the entire finger pad onto the surface of the touchscreen.

Not much of a typing improvement (1)

curtix7 (1429475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26175955)

Looks uncomfortable and unnatural for normal phone / PDA functionality if you ask me. I think typing would end up being more difficult.

It does add an interesting dynamic to non typing applications though. Game apps like the FPS in the video look like they would be a big improvement.
Gameboy / traditional handheld style buttons that are all pressed with the same finger (thumb) don't work well because you are likely to brush the wrong button when moving your thumb from A to B. However if the rest of your fingers wrapped around to "buttons" on the back user input would be much more accurate because you could get more "buttons" without making the user move their fingers along the plane of touch sensitivity as much.

Re:Not much of a typing improvement (1)

Doctor Crumb (737936) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176303)

You mean like "shoulder buttons" that have been on console controllers and handhelds since at least the PS1?

Summary credits Microsoft... why? (1)

jep77 (1357465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176035)

When I RTFA I don't see that this is a Microsoft device. MERL developed it. Microsoft Research simply acknowledged that touchscreen devices are often too small...

...they are often larger than the push button gadgets they replace, according to...Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington.

Last year, Baudisch and Daniel Wigdor of Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs (MERL) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, led a team that developed a fix to that. Their "transparent" LucidTouch device let users interact with a screen from the reverse side

I'm not even sure why the name Microsoft is mentioned in TFA...unless the same guy works for MS in Washington and HPI in Potsdam?

wider sensitivity range + cursor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26176241)

What we really need is a screen that gives you feedback on where you are about to click. If you had a range of sensitivity, your cursor and click could be activated at different pressures (or distances, creating a 'non-touch' screen with less/no wear) Converging dots or a shrinking circle could replace the cursor and show you how close you are to activating it. If you showed where the system 'thought' your finger was, you could even offset the cursor out from behind your finger!

Dumb idea, your brain would be backwards (1)

dk3d (1356069) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176343)

Yeah except it's counterintuitive to how one normally writes. I mean, seeing your hand/finger from upside down/backwards, would me (almost) like suddenly drawing or writing inside out or backwards. Think about it.... if your finger is UNDER the device, sure, you can see it better, but you want to draw what appears to your eye, a line that goes left to right. Except your hand would be physically drawing it right to left. Bad idea. Bad.

Exercise solves fat finger problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26176443)

There, I said it.

Hidden feature (1)

shellster_dude (1261444) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176527)

I suppose the real advantage of this, is that your Cheeto encrusted hands don't smear the screen you are trying to read.

Wow might thin.. (1)

fury88 (905473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176861)

That would be one mighty thin iPhone. Let's see Apple come up with that one!

Wow mighty thin.. (1)

fury88 (905473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176893)

Wow that would be one mighty thin iPhone. Lets see Apple come up with that one!

Microsoft... (1)

rlwhite (219604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176911)

...gives you the courtesy of a reach-around.

fat-fingers away! (1)

fury88 (905473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26176921)

Damn you double posts! I need one of those touchscreens. I fat fingered it!

Or (1)

KiwiCanuck (1075767) | more than 5 years ago | (#26177087)

People could get off their fat ass, and exercise. Volia! No fat fingers! I know, I know, some people are born big and tall. I come from a farming family.
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