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18-Foot Multitouch Wall and New Multitouch Tech Hit the Streets

ScuttleMonkey posted about 5 years ago | from the multitouched-in-the-head dept.

Displays 50

Danny writes to tell us that Obscura Digital has launched their largest multitouch wall yet. 18 feet of multitouch surface is divided to allow six simultaneous users, each with their own targeted audio. The massive wall can handle 100 hi-res images and videos together in real-time. Relatedly, Atmel recently announced the release of their "maXTouch" technology, which delivers a capacitive touchscreen that boasts a refresh rate and signal-to-noise ratio that's 66% better than their nearest competitor. Hopefully this means massive multitouch surfaces will be coming into my home sooner rather than later.

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Oh boy, more pointless CNN news gadgets (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 5 years ago | (#29394257)

Adding nothing to the news for years!

Re:Oh boy, more pointless CNN news gadgets (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | about 5 years ago | (#29397157)

And what is "multi"touch?

All I see is a big touch screen.

Massive multitouch surface at your home... (-1, Offtopic)

Tetsujin (103070) | about 5 years ago | (#29394281)

Your mom likes the multi-touch, and she is massive.

"18 foot" ? (1)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | about 5 years ago | (#29394287)

Using a length to describe an area? Nerd shame on you.

Re:"18 foot" ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29394329)

... yes because when we say we have a 24" lcd we're actually referring to area

Re:"18 foot" ? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 5 years ago | (#29394483)

especially because they got the dimensions off. Everyone knows that you measure the dimension of a screen as a line across its diagonal.

This allows all kinds of funky advertising, switching from a 32 inch display to a 34 inch wide screen will actually reduce your viewing area while increasing the amount you have to pay.

Re:"18 foot" ? (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 5 years ago | (#29394703)

Except that content is going widescreen as well. When you're watching widescreen material, your "32 inch display" is effectively the size of a 29 inch widescreen. Jumping to a 34 inch widescreen will actually increase your viewing area by a third—more than the diagonal measurement would imply.

You can use this handy calculator [displaywars.com] to compare screens for yourself.

Re:"18 foot" ? (1)

wkurzius (1014229) | about 5 years ago | (#29394539)

Marketing. An 18' screen is easier to visualize for the general public than a 72 ft^2 one.

Re:"18 foot" ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29395217)

but marketing loves bigger numbers

How do you touch a screen from the couch? (1)

mamono (706685) | about 5 years ago | (#29394317)

I like to sit back on the couch with my 92" screen across the room. I'm not going to get up every time I want to do something on my TV, that's what remotes are for.

Re:How do you touch a screen from the couch? (5, Funny)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | about 5 years ago | (#29394373)

A very long stick with a rubber thing on the end may come in handy. Either that or buy a dart gun and just shoot at it.

Re:How do you touch a screen from the couch? (1)

demonbug (309515) | about 5 years ago | (#29394587)

A very long stick with a rubber ...

You'd better stay away from my multitouch surface!

Re:How do you touch a screen from the couch? (1)

Kratisto (1080113) | about 5 years ago | (#29395649)

Yeah! Who knows if that rubber has the same capacitance [wikipedia.org] as human skin?

Re:How do you touch a screen from the couch? (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | about 5 years ago | (#29394589)

How do you touch the TV? The 18 foot multi-touch screen IS the remote. You should see the TV screen it comes with. It'll give your 92 incher penis envy.

Re:How do you touch a screen from the couch? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 5 years ago | (#29396863)

I'm still waiting on LCARS-style panels in my home - that can be purchased relatively cheaply - so I can control all of my stuff from a panel. Lights, etc., whatnot.

I think it wouldn't be terribly difficult. You'd need a touch screen obviously, and you can sell them in standard sizes. Perhaps some kind of wireless schema where it can communicate with more complex appliances like televisions and heating/cooling systems. Ideally though, it would be able to work with even older homes (i.e. how some dimmer switch boards operate wirelessly via receivers that go in-between a plug and a wall socket).

Then all we need is voice activation and someone to generate a good speech synth of the late Ms. Roddenberry's voice and I will be the coolest person on my whole block!

"Coolest" (1)

StrongGlad (687909) | about 5 years ago | (#29401457)

That word... I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:How do you touch a screen from the couch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29411753)

You're right. Who needs a massive touch-wall?

It's all about small handheld touch-screen devices. i.e. an ipod touch as a touchpad/keyboard for your huge wall-projected media centre.

Weird Al becomes reality when? (1)

Bazman (4849) | about 5 years ago | (#29394327)

Can anyone extrapolate screen size to see what year this will happen:

Frank's 2000" TV [youtube.com]

Re:Weird Al becomes reality when? (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | about 5 years ago | (#29394493)

Easy. Just swipe a display from a football stadium.

I'm just wondering how many DX11 Radeons [slashdot.org] it will take to run it. Maybe 6?....

Re:Weird Al becomes reality when? (1)

mehemiah (971799) | about 5 years ago | (#29394645)

or Eyefinity24s [phoronix.com]

Re:Weird Al becomes reality when? (1)

ninjamonkey26 (1258466) | about 5 years ago | (#29395095)

Umm the Eyefinity is a feature of the DX11 radeons...

When did Atmel go into the touchscreen biz?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29394353)

I thought they mostly made programmable logic. And I was a shareholder until not that long ago....

yawn (1)

religious freak (1005821) | about 5 years ago | (#29394385)

Interface looks cool enough (minus obvious gorilla arm), but the app looks boooooring, like any old web page put on a wall.

New Apple product (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29394441)

iPod Touch Ultra

But the questions remains... (1)

rapturizer (733607) | about 5 years ago | (#29394489)

How does it look with your favorite gaming system (insert PS3, XB360, Wii, PC) hooked up? Otherwise, whats the point.

Light Pens... (1)

florescent_beige (608235) | about 5 years ago | (#29394521)

Call me a troglodyte I don't mind. I remember the first CADAM systems that came out in the 80's that used light pens to select things on the screen. It was exhausting after an hour or so.

Maybe I don't get it but I think touch and gesture has the same problem: it's tiring after a while. I suppose on small devices and fun things it has it's place but the mouse will never go away for real work.

Not that I do any real work but if I did I'd use a mouse.

Re:Light Pens... (3, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | about 5 years ago | (#29394727)

It's true that you're not going to work 40+ hours a week holding your hands up to a wall. But brainstorming sessions and meetings will probably benefit from this. I think multi-touch and large screen interactive displays definitely have a utility, but we're going to have to explore its limitations over the next few years. Like speech recognition, it will probably find niches before it finds widespread acceptance.

Re:Light Pens... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29399231)

Exactly. It wouldn't have to be more tiring to use than a blackboard/whiteboard/piece of paper, and people manage to use those pretty regularly, and for hours at a time.
The trick is in finding applicable areas of use and developing efficient interfaces, but that's a long process, and won't begin fully until the first products hits the market.
Hell, I'd say the mouse only relatively recently has reached maturity as a input device. And you still find people complaining that it can't replace the keyboard for command input. Which is partially true, but it has taken over a lot of functions that used to be handled by the command line for the majority of users, as well as allowing efficient manipulations that the keyboard never afforded in the first place. People have settled on the best of both worlds by having both, and I think the same will happen with touch input. You have to have a screen anyway, so you don't even get the extra clutter that the mouse adds.

Re:Light Pens... (1)

Thrip (994947) | about 5 years ago | (#29395683)

You had me until you said "mouse." Those things aren't just tiring: they're crippling, and yet they're still insanely popular.

Re:Light Pens... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29396485)

Mice are ok for games, but for any real work I use a tablet.

Eyefinity (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 5 years ago | (#29394533)

So do you use the new ATI Eyefinity capable cards and drivers to run it? Curious how this announcement comes out just a couple days after that announcement.

Practical uses? (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | about 5 years ago | (#29394571)

Aside from wow-factor displays at the Hard Rock Hotel, what uses come to mind for this technology off hand? It is definitely an achievement...but it would seem that something functional on a smaller scale would be far more practical. It seems to me that fatigue would be an issue if a user used a physical interface on this scale for any real length of time.

Re:Practical uses? (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | about 5 years ago | (#29394965)

porn?

Re:Practical uses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29395621)

It will replace whiteboards and chalk boards.

whats it running? (1)

mehemiah (971799) | about 5 years ago | (#29394633)

is it a linux kerenl? apple gui? (i noticed apple HIG familiarities) or some windows shell. or is it something different all together (QNX)

18 feet? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29394739)

Woha... at least it's stable and sure not to fall over.

What? Read TFA? I haven't even read TFS.

Yes, I'm not from the USA. Why? ;)

Oh my god! (2, Funny)

gaderael (1081429) | about 5 years ago | (#29394743)

"18 Foot Multitouch Wall and New Multitouch Tech Hit the Streets"! I hope no one was crushed underneath!

Looks Cool (1)

bencoder (1197139) | about 5 years ago | (#29394949)

Unfortunately this kind of interface is completely useless except as a gimmick.

Relevant Comic [ok-cancel.com]

Don't expect chips in a hurry (2, Informative)

wrmrxxx (696969) | about 5 years ago | (#29395005)

Atmel makes some great microcontrollers, but their recent record of delivery is very poor and it has hurt their reputation. In particular, Atmel announced the XMEGA range of AVR micros years ago, but they repeatedly failed to become available: see AvrFreaks [avrfreaks.net] for just one of many discussions on the topic. A limit subset of the range is just becoming readily purchaseable now.

There are various theories about why Atmel has had such delays in producing the XMEGAs: upper management turmoil, the distraction of a takeover attempt by Microchip, the change to being fab-less, and serious bugs in the early XMEGA production efforts.

I hope I'm wrong, but I wouldn't be too surprised if these new chips aren't physically available for a long time.

Re:Don't expect chips in a hurry (1)

winavr (793523) | about 5 years ago | (#29395577)

The main reason why chips are late getting out to the masses is that top-level customers soak up all the supply for a while. It's not because of all the drama that you mention.

Size? (1)

Shadyman (939863) | about 5 years ago | (#29395091)

Well, it's not the size that matters... Right?

Divided into sections. (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 5 years ago | (#29395251)

OK. So they build this really big projection touchscreen. And then they divide it into sections because they don't have an application that can use it effectively.

That indicates a failure of imagination. But it's really just a PR device for the Hard Rock location in Vegas. It's not something anyone uses regularly. So its interface has to be trivial.

What could you usefully do with a touchscreen that big usable simultaneously by multiple people? Intelligence analysis? Maybe. But there's an inherent bias in something like that towards short-attention span behavior, which may not be a good thing in analysis. Trading platform? Might work; those guys already have too many screens. But they don't move their windows around much; they have many screens because they need their data to be in expected places. Architecture? Look at, yes; show to clients, yes, actually design, no. That's more likely to be one guy with a modest size touchscreen driving a wall-sized display.

I could see this as a management tool for a MMORPG, where the staff is trying to run a world, but the consequences of errors are low.

Re:Divided into sections. (1)

Cerium (948827) | about 5 years ago | (#29397509)

How about retail stores? You could apply it basically anywhere to give customers a good way to look up products based on some criteria and/or point them in the direction of the product(s) they want. Also, think about any kind of store where the products have a high degree of customization. Clothing stores would be an amazing demonstration of this technology almost exactly as it is in the demo. Drag some clothes around to make outfits on the screen rather than spending nine years waiting for your goddamn girlfriend to try every f-ing combination.

Also, auto dealerships could probably make good use of this as well.

Re:Divided into sections. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29401531)

the sections are divided dynamically based on the number of people interacting with it. it is a single application, running on one computer spanning the entire 18 feet.

if just one person goes up to the screen, when they touch it they have full control over the entire surface, but when another person comes up and touches something it automatically subdivides the screen based on where the two interactions are happening.

Re:Divided into sections. (1)

beckett (27524) | about 5 years ago | (#29402303)

Laboratories, museums, schools, libraries, web cafes, fast food outlets, movie kiosks, airport check-in, interactive art displays, elevators, bathroom stalls (with sanitiser), phone booths, subways or anything that needs large numbers of temporary computers in one spot?

Once the price of these start to creep down, something like this could be generic, ubiquitous hardware for all manners of information, transaction, and advertising. it could occupy any empty, flat space, and it's way cooler than that smoked plexiglass crap on Star Trek. Make it ruggedized so you can hose it down and it can be pretty much anywhere.

I would like to see a proper big projection touchscreen app though. if they give you a screen that big, i'd expect something really cool. Some sort of 8-way deathmatch Tetris game?

Can it play quake? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29395787)

Let's focus on essentials before all this... well whatever

Re:Can it play quake? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29395989)

But is it thin enough? A wall sounds gross and fat. How hot does it get next to the wall?

wtf?! (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | about 5 years ago | (#29396257)

"Hopefully this means massive multitouch surfaces will be coming into my home sooner rather than later"

Really? You don't think maybe that's put the power requirements of the household to like 10x normal? Actually let's make that 20x in the summer since cooling down a house with giant displays with walls would take a ridiculously powerful AC system.

18 feet (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 years ago | (#29404603)

18 feet? How many liters of area is that?
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