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Microsoft Buys Multi-Touch Pioneer Perceptive Pixel

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the it-sounds-very-sensitive dept.

Businesses 85

theodp writes "Back in 2006, a post on Jeff Han's multi-touch screen technology — a real TED crowd-pleaser — gave Slashdot readers a taste of the iPhone and iPad future. Han spun off his NYU Research into a company called Perceptive Pixel which, among other things, gave the world CNN's Amazing Magic Wall. On Monday, Steve Ballmer announced that Microsoft is acquiring Perceptive Pixel, which not only means you'll be able to run Windows 8 on an 82-inch touchscreen, but that the Apple v,. Motorola Mobility lawsuit is about to get more interesting!"

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lol (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40601089)

first

Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (-1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601097)

Multitouch, schmultitouch.
Haven't Microsoft figured out yet that humans need tactile feedback for any kind of prolonged operation, and aren't designed for holding our hands out from our body? How many times have they failed at touch screens now? Three?

After the initial fascination, tech like this will be adopted for very specific purposes only. Controlling a large work PC screen ain't it.

Give me my tactile phone buttons back, please, so I can make calls when I can't see (yes, some of us use our phones for calling. I know, amazing concept and it's wonderful what new technology can do.) And stop trying to make everything into a smartphone.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (5, Informative)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601157)

I use my Tablet PC comfortably cradled in one arm, or propped comfortably on a table or desk.

For the tactile feedback, there're a number of companies working on this, most recent I came across:

http://senseg.com/technology/senseg-technology [senseg.com]

William

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (5, Insightful)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601167)

Who took them away from you? There's plenty of phones with buttons, plenty of feature phones, and if you really want to get medieval, you can even find phones that can barely text. How about you stop trying to stifle things you don't understand?

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

E1910 (2681139) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601293)

Exactly. People want smart phones with touchscreen. People who want just buttons are in minority. Microsoft isn't doing this for the PC only. Not that it wouldn't be good on PC in addition to keyboard and mouse.

I want touchscreen *and* tactile (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40603697)

I would love a phone with a touchscreen but on which I can also feel the buttons. Haptics, dynamic morphing, whatever, I don't care how they do it.

Re:I want touchscreen *and* tactile (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610103)

Hell to the yeah brother. First one to get that right (and durable) gets riiiich.

Or sued into oblivion since there's about a billion patents for useless tech that's tangentially related to it and not even really trying to build toward the goal.

Re:I want touchscreen *and* tactile (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610111)

I gotta say, that Cadillac commercial where they're pimping their touchscreen just seemed so stupid to me. If there's one place I want to do everything by feel, it's a vagina. But if there were two, it'd be a vagina and a car.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (2, Insightful)

segedunum (883035) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601191)

Microsoft have never got this, and they probably never will. First they tried to turn phones into Windows desktops with a start button, now they're trying to turn Windows into a smartphone.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601327)

Never really understood how they make it so hard. It's just a UI that needs action or dos commend connected to a sub sub sub sub sub menu or a direction / pintch / sub menu of some sort. I'm sure excel could work on my phone. Just have to get away from it being used and interacted with like a desktop.
The bigger question is WHY am I trying to use a phone to work excel! :)

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40601917)

"The bigger question is WHY am I trying to use a phone to work excel! :)"

The same thing 99% of the people are doing with it: grocery lists, people lists, anything but calculating, not even a fucking sum!

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601715)

Not unlike what they did with MSN in the olden days (The Microsoft Network). They developed a copycat product to what AOL, Prodigy, Genie, Compuserve etc. had brought to market ages ago. They tried making the internet look like Windows, and then later had to backtrack and try to make Windows look more like the internet.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (5, Interesting)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601209)

Haven't Microsoft figured out yet that humans need tactile feedback for any kind of prolonged operation, and aren't designed for holding our hands out from our body?

I take it you aren't a teacher. I write on a 200 inch vertical surface with no tactile feedback for 2 hours at a time. This thing would be amazing in my classroom.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601295)

I take it you aren't a teacher. I write on a 200 inch vertical surface with no tactile feedback for 2 hours at a time. This thing would be amazing in my classroom.

I take it you are a teacher. Cause no one else would fail to see that using multi-touch on an 84" screen means waving both arms around. But since you claim it'll be amazing for you, I wish you good luck. Except that I think that 3-4 months of salary could be better spent on other things our schools lack. Like teachers.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601351)

Except that I think that 3-4 months of salary could be better spent on other things our schools lack. Like teachers.

We don't lack teachers, we lack will and motivation.

we lack teachers (2)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40603721)

30+ small children in a class is too many for effective learning

Re:we lack teachers (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40605437)

In the US, we've doubled the number of teachers in 10 years, while the number of students has gone up 8%.

Though to be fair, a lot of the new hires, which are categorized as "teachers" are teacher's assistants.

I don't know...last year I taught in an inner-city high school, not as part of the curriculum, but as a coach of a martial arts team. It had been several decades since I've been in a high school. I saw a lot of things wrong, but "not enough teachers" was not the one that jumped out at me. Maybe quality of teachers, maybe smarter administration. But my sample was pretty small. The teachers I saw were working very hard, trying very hard, but there still seemed to be a lot of problems.

On the other hand, I just read a story about a charter school in Louisiana that's getting government money, per student. There are hardly any teachers at all in this "Christian" school. Students are put into a bare classroom with a DVD player and they watch DVDs which are math or chemistry interspersed with bible verses. Wait, I've got the article here somewhere....

Far more openings are available at smaller, less prestigious religious schools, including some that are just a few years old and others that have struggled to attract tuition-paying students.

The school willing to accept the most voucher students â" 314 â" is New Living Word in Ruston, which has a top-ranked basketball team but no library. Students spend most of the day watching TVs in bare-bones classrooms. Each lesson consists of an instructional DVD that intersperses Biblical verses with subjects such chemistry or composition. ....At Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier hopes to secure extra space to enroll 135 voucher students, though she now has room for just a few dozen. Her first- through eighth-grade students sit in cubicles for much of the day and move at their own pace through Christian workbooks, such as a beginning science text that explains "what God made" on each of the six days of creation. They are not exposed to the theory of evolution. "We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children," Carrier said.

And later in the article...

ouisiana requires almost no accountability from voucher schools....While voucher students are required to take the same assessment tests as public school students, there are no penalties for private schools if they fail to measure up to their public counterparts. In fact, Gov. Jindal vetoed language in a 2011 appropriations bill that would have removed participating schools if their studentsâ(TM) scores lagged those in the lowest performing schools in the Recovery School District, which incorporates most New Orleans public schools.

I think it's too simplistic to distill the problem with our education down to "not enough teachers". Even if this Louisiana school hired 200 teachers, I'm not sure the results would be much better.

That's why I say that what's required is a commitment to education and the will to educate more than anything else. I'm not sure this charter school, for example, really cares about education, yet it's the model school for more than half the governors in the US. This is the kind of school they want our kids to have.

[article is from Mother Jones]

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (4, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601483)

Cause no one else would fail to see that using multi-touch on an 84" screen means waving both arms around.

Yeah, I'm failing to see that, especially since I'm watching it in use [youtu.be] and don't see the guy waving around both arms. With your use of the word "waving" you're trying to convey this wild flailing motion, but the actual interaction with the device seems as natural as what I would do on a chalk board.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40602529)

Yeah, I'm failing to see that, especially since I'm watching it in use and don't see the guy waving around both arms.

The hand waving starts at around 2:38

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40603177)

Ah, so occasional slight gestures moving mostly just your hands is your idea of "waving both arms around." Hyperbole much? I was expecting something more like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlJM4UhbQ7A [youtube.com]

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

murphtall (1979734) | more than 2 years ago | (#40604257)

ever heard of projecting an ipad's screen to the wall instead of using the wall? No need to use both arms with projection technology! lol!

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612767)

Why the hell do you think a multi-touch screen requires waving 2 hands around? I use my iPad one-handed, and millions of people use smartphones with only one hand as well.

I think you're in desperate need of some education yourself. Try a critical thinking class.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40614375)

Why the hell do you think a multi-touch screen requires waving 2 hands around? I use my iPad one-handed, and millions of people use smartphones with only one hand as well.

Your iPad and the smartphones aren't 58" as per TFA.

Using multi-touch gestures a couple of inches in size isn't useful on a display that is intended to be seen from across the room. Even if you were Paganini, you'd need two hands and arms waving.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

Rhipf (525263) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601849)

I assume your 200 inch vertical surface is a chalk board (unless they have come up with some new tech I haven't heard of) and you say that you get no tactile feedback. I think your using it wrong!

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40602129)

unless they have come up with some new tech I haven't heard of

Yes, the marker board, also known as the white board. It has very low friction compared to a chalk board. Either way, a multi-touch screen like this could mimic the same friction as either a white or chalk board, providing the same level of tactile feedback. I have a tablet PC with a stylus, and I can insert different tips, and depending on how much drag I want the pen to have it can feel like writing with a pen or a pencil. Same idea could be used here.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

zlives (2009072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607575)

i think you should describe how your teaching methodology would change (for the better) if you were using an active surface vs a marker board vs a projected pc/tablet image.

i think it would be cool... but then i am just a geek :)

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608517)

It's the difference between talking on the phone and talking face to face. With a projected tablet PC, I'm not in front of the screen pointing to things. The best I can do is scribble on the screen with ink for emphasis, but I don't have any other gestures and nonverbal communication at my disposal. And all that scribbling gets the screen very messy. Further, I have to write very large because the pen nub isn't fine enough, so I can't leave things up on the board; I have to erase as I move along.

Standing up in front of the objects I'm manipulating is very different, because I can communicate nonverbally by pointing and so forth. I could also write larger, and keep things on the board longer to reference later.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608589)

Oh I forgot to address how it would be better than a regular chalk/marker board. Remember the US/World map that used to be rolled up above the blackboard, that you would pull down during geography class? That would now be integrated into the board like Google map, except you can zoom in to any place for a geography lesson.

Or have you ever had a teacher say "I'm a terrible artist, but I'll give it a shot" maybe in math class when drawing 3D objects? With a surface like this, those could be pre-loaded and instead of a crappy drawing made by "not an artist" you get a fully accurate rendering of a toroid or hypercube or whatnot.

Or imagine writing an equation on the screen, and it being recognized. Then you could pull up plots of the equation, and maybe adjust parameters to show how it changes in x and y. Maybe it could query things like Wolfram Alpha so you get its derivative, its integral, etc.

Let's take it a step further: turn everyone's desk into an interactive surface. I used to have a math class where everyone would come to the board and put answers up. You could instead write at your interactive desk, and then display the classes answers on the interactive board at once. Or the students could have copies of the board at the same time on their desk so kids in the back can see just as well. The lecture could be recorded automatically, and they could play it back step by step to see a correct derivation or proof along with an audio explanation.

I could go on and on. I don't know how effective all this would really be honestly, but I'm a geek too and think it could be cool.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40602097)

"I take it you aren't a teacher. I write on a 200 inch vertical surface with no tactile feedback for 2 hours at a time. This thing would be amazing in my classroom"

If you're a teacher, you must be an old one, the overhead projector was invented in 1945 so you can sit the fuck down.

"The overhead is typically placed at a comfortable writing height for the educator and allows the educator to face the class, facilitating better communication between the students and teacher. The enlarging features of the projector allow the educator to write in a comfortable small script in a natural writing position rather than writing in an overly large script on a blackboard and having to constantly hold his arm out in midair to write on the blackboard."

But now it's even better than after World War II, we now have projectors that can even show movies or animations, or what you hand-write, draw or type directly from your tablet.
  (a tablet is a little computer, it's just named like an old papery utensil.)

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612787)

You are an idiot.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

kurthr (30155) | more than 2 years ago | (#40602285)

Hmmm, but you don't work at the whiteboard/chalkboard to be individually productive. You do it in order to be seen from a distance without technological assistance.
Would you choose to do the rest of your work on a vertical 200" workspace? I doubt it.

Oh, and I am amazed that you have purchased non-tactile chalk... does it exude an anesthetic?
Touchscreens are tactile... you touch them.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40603051)

You do it in order to be seen from a distance without technological assistance. Would you choose to do the rest of your work on a vertical 200" workspace? I doubt it.

So what's your point exactly? Different tools for different jobs? Okay, that's obvious.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601215)

I just bought a smartphone with a slideout keyboard seven months ago. It has great tactile feedback, as I mostly got it for email (the only 'smart' thing I really got the phone for anyway). And yes, you can dial numbers from the slideout keypad - the learning curve is only a tiny bit sharper than a traditional 'dumb' phone for making calls on tactile feedback alone. It sounds like you just suck at shopping around to find exactly what you want.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601233)

Actually calling via the phone is terrible. The quality is crap, the latency all over the place, their is no video, and it still wants to be synchronous.

I agree multitouch is pointless for full size screens, but having a computer with me at all times is very useful. Tactile buttons reduce the screen size, which is a far bigger hindrance since phone calls are a tiny part of what these devices due.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601255)

When I was young, we had text screens and you needed to basically be literate to "do stuff" with text, capable of abstract thought and reasoning. That was OK, only us elite used computers anyway.
Then we had to squander processing power and programmer effort to make everything GUI graphical to make it as simple as possible for illiterate noobs and damn the productivity collapse to the literate. But, hey, at least I get a nice screen and when I'm allowed to use old fashioned "text" instead of incomprehensible icons, pretty fonts for my text. Modern display technology can be pretty nice!
Now we have to cover those nice screens and pretty fonts with an encrustation of smeared finger grease.
I'm not overly fond of most UI work done since the mid 1980s.

I don't think the decline of:
1) Must be able to read and write and memorize text. To:
2) Must be able to understand hieroglyphic pictograms and memorize muscle memory of GUI menus and icons. To:
3) Must be able to play with virtual playdough and virtual fingerpaints and memorize nothing because we're taking features away now
is evolution. More like ... de-evolution.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601279)

Devo was ahead of the curve.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40601289)

Give me my tactile phone buttons back, please, so I can make calls when I can't see (yes, some of us use our phones for calling. I know, amazing concept and it's wonderful what new technology can do.) And stop trying to make everything into a smartphone.

You know, if you can't see, just *speak* to your phone, and tell it to call who you want to call.

Oh I'm so sorry that things are changing for you, it'd be so much better if things stayed the same for eternity!

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601713)

You know, if you can't see, just *speak* to your phone, and tell it to call who you want to call.

Yes, we all know how reliable voice recognition is.
Let's set so double the killer delete select all.
Figures I've seen shows that north of 75% of all calls made on devices with voice assisted dialling are made without using voice assisted dialling. Why? Because it's so darn unreliable, as anyone who's had a phone can attest to.
"Call mom"
    "Calling Ron"
"No, not RON, dammit, call MOM."
    "Calling ENRON. Sorry, the number you dialled can not be reached"
"Em Oh Em for god's sake"
    "Calling Imoen Ferguson"
"Abort, abort. Call plus four seven two two [...]"
    "I am sorry, I did not understand that"
"Dial plus four seven two two [...]"
    "Sorry, Beaufort S Evan not recognized. Do you want to add an entry?"

The whole point of using buttons with tactile feedback is so there won't be any mistakes.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40603161)

Are you retarded? I have used speech recognition on the Droid X for a year and a half now and it has NEVER gotten what I said wrong. This is without training the phone and frequently with words I'm shocked it knew what they were, not to mention how to spell them. Get with the times gramps, or see a speech therapist; just do something.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40603443)

Are you retarded? I have used speech recognition on the Droid X for a year and a half now and it has NEVER gotten what I said wrong.

No, not retarded. I have something you'll never have: a deep voice.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

zlives (2009072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607647)

+1 funny

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601399)

I think I use less than 100 minutes a month worth of actual voice communication with my phone. Text, chat, and email have pretty much completely replaced the need to have voice conversation; the only person I actually talk to on the phone is my mother, and even she is getting on the text bandwagon, now that she has finally gotten herself a cellphone.

Some people see it as a bad thing that we're not literally talking to one another like we used to, but honestly, I don't see it as a bad thing at all. When I get a phone call, it not only interrupts me but it interrupts everyone around me while I take that call. When I get a text message I can quickly respond without stopping all the conversation happening right in front of me, without having to leave the room or find a quiet place. Honestly, I see that as much more rude than just shooting off a text.

Besides, there's another thing with tactile buttons: they collect dirt and debris and serve as an avenue for that dirt and debris to get into your device. My touchscreen smartphone is much more easily cleaned then the dumbphones of old.

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601557)

Controlling a large work PC screen ain't it.

That depends...at least for me...if you give me a 23" in front of me and another 23" right in the table I'm all in! Well, at least if I can configure the system to work, like switching the touchscreen in the desk from input, to mirror to...arrr...what was the name? Stand-alone-display? Extended Desktop? Multihead?

Re:Remember the gorilla arm syndrome (1)

schroedingers_hat (2449186) | more than 2 years ago | (#40602855)

I've yet to figure out why they didn't just move buttons to the back -- chorded or otherwise. I've seen a few companies playing around with more touch screens on the back, but never an otherwise close to competitive phone with buttons on the back. You can even fit two or three fingers from each hand on there whilst comfortably holding the thing.
Maybe it's time someone made a peripheral (or linked to one if it already exists).
Another useful feature would be a tutorial/training mode where the buttons touch/soft pressure sensitive and showed you the position of the finger(s) and letter/button you're pressing before you fully pressed it.

More interesting? (4, Insightful)

Sez Zero (586611) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601119)

If by "more interesting" you mean "more tedious, unnecessary and annoying", then yes, yes it will.

Re:Here it is, Microsoft in its pure state (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40601247)

That's the only thing Microsoft knows how to do well - copying innovation and if they can't, try to hindering it.

Posting as AC to avoid shills affecting my Karma.

Re:Here it is, Microsoft in its pure state (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40602597)

Sorry that disagreeing with you is shilling, I'll be sure to visit MS offices and pickup the paycheck they apparently owe me.

Re:Here it is, Microsoft in its pure state (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40602695)

It is not a matter of agreement. Microsoft has a long past of evil corporate practices, FUD, abuse of Monopoly and many other things. Unless you were born recently or you fried your long term memory, this is something you should KNOW.

Re:Here it is, Microsoft in its pure state (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40602933)

Microsoft didn't invent DOS, from wikipedia:

MS-DOS was a renamed form of 86-DOS – informally known as the Quick-and-Dirty Operating System or Q-DOS[3] – owned by Seattle Computer Products, written by Tim Paterson.[3] Microsoft needed an operating system for the then-new Intel 8086 but it had none available, so it bought 86-DOS for $75,000 and licensed it as its own then released a version of it as MS-DOS 1.0

Microsoft didn't invent Windows either, from wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_1.0 [wikipedia.org]

The history of Windows dates back to September 1981, when the project named "Interface Manager" was started. It was first presented to the public on November 10, 1983,[4] renamed to "Microsoft Windows"; the two years of delay before release led to charges that it was "vaporware". The initially announced version of Windows had features so much resembling the Macintosh interface that Microsoft had to change many of them

Microsoft didn't invent the Kinect either, from wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PrimeSense [wikipedia.org]

The company provides 3D sensing technology for Kinect, previously known as Project Natal.

If you are a long term user of KDE, then you would know how many things Microsoft actually cloned from KDE:
- clickable items in the location bar on file explorer.
- device center (http://polishlinux.org/reviews/kde-4-rev-790000/kde4_790000_device.jpg)
- the whole feeling of windows 7 resembles KDE (which was release much before) (http://www.internetling.com/2008/12/29/windows-7-the-kde-3-5-wannabe/)

And these are just on top of my head! Do you really want me to go on?

Re:Here it is, Microsoft in its pure state (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608061)

Microsoft didn't invent DOS, from wikipedia:

MS-DOS was a renamed form of 86-DOS – informally known as the Quick-and-Dirty Operating System or Q-DOS[3] – owned by Seattle Computer Products, written by Tim Paterson.[3] Microsoft needed an operating system for the then-new Intel 8086 but it had none available, so it bought 86-DOS for $75,000 and licensed it as its own then released a version of it as MS-DOS 1.0

Microsoft didn't invent Windows either, from wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_1.0 [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org]

The history of Windows dates back to September 1981, when the project named "Interface Manager" was started. It was first presented to the public on November 10, 1983,[4] renamed to "Microsoft Windows"; the two years of delay before release led to charges that it was "vaporware". The initially announced version of Windows had features so much resembling the Macintosh interface that Microsoft had to change many of them

Microsoft didn't invent the Kinect either, from wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PrimeSense [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org]

The company provides 3D sensing technology for Kinect, previously known as Project Natal.

If you are a long term user of KDE, then you would know how many things Microsoft actually cloned from KDE:
- clickable items in the location bar on file explorer.
- device center (http://polishlinux.org/reviews/kde-4-rev-790000/kde4_790000_device.jpg)
- the whole feeling of windows 7 resembles KDE (which was release much before) (http://www.internetling.com/2008/12/29/windows-7-the-kde-3-5-wannabe/)

And these are just on top of my head! Do you really want me to go on?

How come parent was modded down? He was only quoting information from non-biased sources (like wikipedia). Things like this only proves that this place is in fact crowded with Microsoft shills.

Re:More interesting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40601435)

I bet Apple and Microsoft will get to be the best of friends, from one Walled Garden to another. (See also the Rockstar patent (troll) consortium). They'll happily share the patents and try to shaft Google/Android/Motorola any way possible.

A more pertinent point. (1)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40602937)

So research paid for by the public got stolen and used to spin-off a company that's now being sold to Microsoft.

So how much of the purchase price will NYU and the US public see? Or will these blatant theft go un- noticed?

Re:A more pertinent point. (2)

cdecoro (882384) | more than 2 years ago | (#40605087)

So research paid for by the public got stolen and used to spin-off a company that's now being sold to Microsoft.

So how much of the purchase price will NYU and the US public see? Or will these blatant theft go un- noticed?

Actually, when I was a grad student at NYU in 2002, when Jeff started there, he wasn't paid or funded at all. He wasn't a student, and didn't even have an office. He was just there for fun.

From what I recall, Jeff made a decent amount of money right out of college in the dot-com boom (I think it was with CUSeeMe, an early teleconference software). After cashing that out just in time, he didn't need to work, from what I gathered, so he just was looking for a place to hang out around other interesting people doing graphics research. So he got in touch with one of the professors, and they let him hang out at what was then the "Center for Advanced Technologies" (since long defunct). All of his work was self-funded. Like I said, he didn't even have an office; he worked at the public terminals in the middle of the lab floor after everyone else left for the day.

Maybe that changed at some point later (I left after a year), but I suspect he probably brought in far more funding (or at least positive publicity) than he ever used.

Good show (0)

OldGunner (2576825) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601155)

Congratulations to Microsoft!
Now we know at least one thing Windows 8 will run on. Woo Hoo.

Re:Good show (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601681)

What I can't figure out is why Microsoft wants an old version of Ubuntu.

Apple v Motorola Mobility? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601177)

No more relevant than my patent on peanut butter and jelly bagels. Microsoft v Motorola Mobility, though, that could be something.

Apple Didn't Invent Multi-Touch? (1)

organgtool (966989) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601181)

Given all the stink Apple makes about its multi-touch patents, you'd have thought that they invented multi-touch. I guess they just patented USING multi-touch. I'm not sure if there is a term for this class of patents, but if not, then I suggest "constrictor patent". The patent covers integrating someone else's invention (wrapping it) and then suffocates anyone who attempts to also integrate that technology. For another example, look at Apple's patent on using inductive charging in computing and portable devices. This practice not only harms Apple's competitors, it also harms the inventor of the original technology since Apple is the only company that is able to legally use the technology without risk of being sued. The patent office really needs to stop offering these patents as well as revoke all of the constrictor patents that were already granted.

Re:Apple Didn't Invent Multi-Touch? (5, Insightful)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601213)

No, no, no. You got it all wrong. Apple comes up with a space-age idea like multi-touch, waits for somebody intelligent to invent it and THEN claims it as their own and sues the little upstart back into the stone age. The mistake everybody makes is that just because somebody else actually put the pieces together and did the hard work doesn't mean they invented it. To invent something, you have to think about it and then patent the thought you had with some rough scribbles on a napkin. I've actually invented and patented hovercars. I'm just waiting for somebody else to make them so that I can sue them.

It's kind of brilliant. Y'know, in a total bastard kind of way.

Re:Apple Didn't Invent Multi-Touch? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601497)

No Apple is great at marketing the features of their phones. They didn't invent it or patent it first. One of the earliest patents for multi-touch using capacitance belonged to FingerWorks who made keyboards. Apple bought the company specifically for their patents.

Remember not only can a function be patented but the methodology as well. For example, TVs were orginally CRT. LCD, Plasma, LED, DLP, etc deliver the same basic function but with a different method. Any new TV tech must reference CRT as prior art but can be patented.

While Apple might have the multi-touch based on capitance, other methods like resistance, light beams, whatever are separate patents.

Re:Apple Didn't Invent Multi-Touch? (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601635)

And that makes me sad. I really wanted a FingerWorks keyboard. Apple has done nothing with it. Plus no one else can make these keyboards as Apple has the "rights". Apple is holding everyone back here.

Re:Apple Didn't Invent Multi-Touch? (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601671)

Here's some reading for you: "A Multi-Touch Three Dimensional Touch-Sensitive Tablet" [billbuxton.com] . It's an academic paper published by the ACM detailing a capacitive, pressure-sensitive, multi-touch surface. Published - 1985.

Abstract - A prototype touch-sensitive tablet Is presented. The tablet's main innovation is that It Is capable of sensing mare than one point of contact at a time. In addition to being able to provide position coordinates, the tablet also gives a measure of degree of contact, independently for each point of contact. In order to enable multi-touch sensing, the tablet surface is divided into a grid of discrete points. The points are scanned using a recursive area subdivision algorithm. In order to minimize the resolution lost due to the discrete nature of the grid, a novel interpolation scheme has been developed. Finally, the paper briefly discusses how multi-touch sensing, interpolation, and degree of contact sensing can be combined to expand our vocabulary In human-computer Interaction.

Video [youtube.com]

This stuff wasn't new in 1998, and it certainly wasn't new in 2006 with the release of the iPhone. Apple has proven to be litigious enough as of late, so why haven't they taken these multi-touch patents out of the war chest? Is it because they expect them to be summarily struck down due to the copious prior art?

Re:Apple Didn't Invent Multi-Touch? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40602211)

FingerWorks was granted a patent on multi-touch. How they achieved it is patentable separate. Patents are not granted on ideas but implementations of ideas. See CRT TV vs LCD TV I specifically mentioned above.

Re:Apple Didn't Invent Multi-Touch? (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40603031)

You fail to understand what "this stuff" is, and how patents work.

Re:Apple Didn't Invent Multi-Touch? (2)

MCSEBear (907831) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601373)

The original patents on multi-touch belonged to a company founded back in 1998 called Fingerworks [wikipedia.org] . Fingerworks produced multi-touch keyboards and gesture pads for the Macintosh.

Here [nytimes.com] is an article from 2002 discussing one of their products in the NY Times.

Apple purchased Fingerworks a year before Jeff Han's now famous TED talk.

Re:Apple Didn't Invent Multi-Touch? (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601539)

The original patents on multi-touch belonged to a company founded back in 1998 called Fingerworks

That's interesting, since actual multitouch systems predate Fingerworks by almost 2 decades. [billbuxton.com]

Here's an example of the pinch gesture being used in 1988: http://youtu.be/dmmxVA5xhuo?t=4m32s [youtu.be]

Why isn't Apple suing every phone manufacturer in existence? I'm quite sure Apple doesn't want its acquired patents to face their day in court.

No, Apple just sat on the best parts. (2)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 2 years ago | (#40602107)

You know how I can tell you didn't read the patents?

I owned one of the FingerWorks keyboards. Their gesture-recognition technology seemed like it had been reverse-engineered from UFOs, or brought back by a time-traveler from the far future. It was enormously more advanced than the work Buxton cites, not to slight Bill in any way (he was a big influence on my own doctoral work in HCI).

I only hope that Microsoft does a better job of popularizing Han's advanced features. Apple still has barely begun to exploit the good parts of FingerWorks' gestural technology. (Can I at least get some two- and three-finger gestures to do usable text selection and editing commands?)

Re:No, Apple just sat on the best parts. (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40602281)

Of course technology is going to improve in the decades between the early 1980s and late 1990s. The contention is that because Apple bought Fingerworks' patents, they own the foundations of multi-touch technology. Elsewhere in this thread it was argued even that capacitive in particular (the tech on most phones today) is owned by Apple.

This is just not the case, as these technologies existed for decades even before Fingerworks existed. In fact, in his thesis [udel.edu] , co-founder of Fingerworks Wayne Westerman cites Bill Buxton's work profusely.

Fingerworks was an evolution of multi-touch, not its genesis.

Re:No, Apple just sat on the best parts. (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40602797)

Patents are not about these "foundations" of yours, but about specific ways of doing something. Otherwise, you would only be able to patent any form of tech once, when in reality you should not be able to patent general concepts at all.

Re:Apple Didn't Invent Multi-Touch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40604177)

But we all know that's not how it works. You're talking about multitouch being older, and I don't disagree (ask women if they like multitouch).

Then you bring gestures, and of course gestures also are old (ask anyone that was cut by another car).

But clearly, the device doing both things can get a patent granted. You may say communications are very old, but a cellphone is an implementation that can be patented. So I really don't know what you're trying to prove there.

Re:Apple Didn't Invent Multi-Touch? (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#40604423)

it's often easy to just change something in the design slightly or even just the wording of the patent to get it past the examiners. for instance, that example of the pinch gesture in 88 was just that, a gesture but one not using multi-"touch". Apple or someone could take that with a physical touching of a device interface and declare it unique and different.

the patent system is the new housing bubble.

LoB

Re:Apple Didn't Invent Multi-Touch? (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601391)

There's already a term for it: different.

The notion of using a touch-sensitive surface to control an electronic device isn't patentable. The specific type of device, paired with the specific type of screen, and controlled in a specific manner, is all wrapped up in a single invention. Change any core component, and you aren't infringing the patent. Apple's recent inductive-charging patent [uspto.gov] , for example, actually covers inductive chargers that also use reradiating antennas to amplify the charged device's communication signals. A third-party inductive charger that only charges and does not amplify is not affected. The majority of the patent is actually covering the implementation of reradiating antennas being powered by a docking station to boost reception, and inductive charging is mentioned almost as an afterthought, seemingly to head off claims of "our dock does this too, so it's a novel and separately-patentable invention".

Of course, even if you avoid the patent, you're still vulnerable to a lawsuit, just like you are any other time. Anyone can be sued for anything, at any time. Whether the plaintiff actually wins is a different matter, but the sensational story's trumpeted by the media, anyway, so people can see ads while they shout about how unfair it all is, then see ads again when they're surprised that the case was dropped in a "sudden outbreak of common sense."

Re:Apple Didn't Invent Multi-Touch? (1)

zenyu (248067) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601447)

Even Apple wasn't dumb enough to actually sue Jeff Han. NYU MRL researchers had been thinking about multi-touch long before Jeff came up with the idea of using FTIR to implement it. Pinch zoom was one of the obvious things we did and didn't even think of patenting it. But had Apple sued you can be sure a lot of prior art would have been put on the table to invalidate their multi-touch patents. They must know about the prior art by now or they'd be threatening their competitors for that instead of things like rounded corners. As for the gorilla arm effect.. the when Jeff started working at the MRL/CAT we had a rear projected colaborative display in our lab. This display is why we were looking for a better multitouch technology. Horizontal displays don't suffer from the gorilla arm effect. The vertical touch screens are simply what Perceptive Pixel is known for from CNN's use.

As I see it, the open markets for it in the vertical configuration right now are for lectures and presentations; the open markets for it in the horizontal configuration are in fields like the military and oil and mineral exploration. The actual technolgy is cheap to implement, so it could be pushed into the corporate market as part of a colaboration tool by a bigger company than Perceptive Pixel (since this will canibalize the existing markets significant funds are needed). But Microsoft isn't known for their ability to create new markets. Their success has always been as a fast follower. So either they are trying to change their culture with buy-in from the top or some VP thinks they can create a new market and will soon run into a brick wall.

Re:Apple Didn't Invent Multi-Touch? (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40602853)

Ah, yes, how could we have a tech story without mentioning Apple. They have become this sort of reverse Streisand Effect.

Hint: If there are two distinct ways of "using inductive charging in computing and portable devices" there can be two patents. You cannot - or at least should not be able to - patent the general concept of something, just one particular way of doing it.

MICROSOFT SAYS ... !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40601229)

PaTcH you dirty, filthy, stinking pig-dogs !!

Have a nice day ... rolling in your filth !!

But patch, if ever you thought not this time, this is not that time !!

Trying to buy credibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40601231)

If they can try to get some credibility they can try to get some validity behind patents on multi-touch and in doing so undermine Apple and Google.

However as was pointed out at the time, Hans work was not new, when he did his pinch zoom projects in 2002, (his TED talk wasn't till 2006, he started long before Apple) all of those gestures had previously been done in the preceding 30 years of research by others.

However that doesn't matter to Microsoft, they just want some patents and some fake cred to fight on their way down. Ballmer has nothing buy games like this.

Oh Yeah, MS Office (1, Troll)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601309)

I found this quote in the article from Han really entertaining:

“By joining Microsoft, we will be able to take advantage of the tremendous momentum of the Microsoft Office Division, tightly interoperate with its products, and deliver this technology to a very broad set of customers.”

Right, because what I wanted for an input device for my word processing and spreadsheet applications is an 80" display that has no keyboard or mouse and relies on multitouch. Oh and if I was going to buy a Perceptive Pixel product, I'd really like it to be tightly integrated and optimized with a particular operating system instead of deciding on my own what is best for my needs. I think by "broad set of customers" he meant "now just Windows users or whatever Microsoft wants me to say as I laugh all the way to the bank." I mean Perceptive Pixel currently supports [perceptivepixel.com] "C, C++, C#, Java, Windows XP, 7, Linux in both 32- and 64-bit architectures." How long before that's just MS Visual Studio and Windows?

Re:Oh Yeah, MS Office (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601419)

Right, because what I wanted for an input device for my word processing and spreadsheet applications is an 80" display that has no keyboard or mouse and relies on multitouch.

I'm sure he's thinking more along the lines of powerpoint, and something like this being in every corporate meeting room. Imagine being able to author multitouch powerpoint presentations easily, and wirelessly streaming to something like this with no little to no configuration. Technical difficulties with presentation equipment still have not gone away, and this might be a solution where Microsoft can say "Buy our OS, buy our office, buy our screen, and never fumble with presentation audio/visuals again."

Re:Oh Yeah, MS Office (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#40602577)

I find I give a better presentation with just a chalkboard. It forces me to think through the presentation rather than reduce everything to bullet points. I'm no artist and don't give a flying rat's ass about graphics.

One time on CSPAN I saw David Patraeus give a PP presentation. He got to one slide and there were arrows here and there, pointlessly pointing at nothing in particular. He made some comment about having to rearrange the slide for some reason and then glanced off camera and said "If the Microsoft people would help us." Well, that explained the pointlessly pointing arrows. It also horrified me that Microsoft people were helping Generals design PP slides.

Re:Oh Yeah, MS Office (2)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601499)

Right, because what I wanted for an input device for my word processing and spreadsheet applications is an 80" display that has no keyboard or mouse and relies on multitouch.

I want it for presentations, training sessions and so on.

It would be trivially easy to launch an on-screen keyboard or keypad when needed.

I'd really like it to be tightly integrated and optimized with a particular operating system instead of deciding on my own what is best for my needs.

Tech like this is shared like a photocopier and is not your personal, private, playground.

Re:Oh Yeah, MS Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40603883)

Tech like this is shared like a photocopier and is not your personal, private, playground.

And you enjoy that tech when Microsoft decides they are no longer profitable and dissolves that part of their business a couple years from now. Good luck supporting that on your own.

Twister! (1)

khr (708262) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601369)

So, if this thing is tough enough, it could be laid flat on the floor and someone can write a Twister game for it...

Re:Twister! (2)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 2 years ago | (#40601481)

Or a really big cat toy :)

[John]

Or the piano from the movie Big... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40603807)

;-)

Perceptive Pixel (2)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 2 years ago | (#40602033)

Wait, "Perceptive Pixel" is not an Ubuntu release?

Re:Perceptive Pixel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40611405)

Are you crazy?
Perspective Pixel Is not an animal. :)

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