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The Ultimate Dual-Hand Touchscreen

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the please-let-me-have-one dept.

Input Devices 275

LithiumX writes "This morning I saw a video demonstration of the most interesting input technology I've seen for a long time. This is a touch-screen that accepts inputs from multiple (I saw at least 8) points at once. It seems very responsive, the display is large and of decent resolution, and they actually wrote software to take advantage of it. It appears to be entirely research at the moment. I'd offer up organs for one of these things."

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Touchscreen keyboards (0, Offtopic)

Ekarderif (941116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707552)

There have been touchscreen keyboards for quite some time now... So what's so special about this?

Re:Touchscreen keyboards (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707590)

Dude. Watch the fucking god damn video.

Re:Touchscreen keyboards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707603)

touchscreen keyboards? huh? did you even bother to watch the video?

Re:Touchscreen keyboards (2, Informative)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707612)

It's 'special' because, as a first, it looks very cool, but it also serves as more than a keyboard (actually watching the video might help, you know).

While applications like this have been around before, most of the time they still had to be controlled with a special hardware-device: And it's very cool to see they now succeeded in bringing it to only be controlled by the fingers.

Re:Touchscreen keyboards (1)

canning (228134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707661)

So will applications have to be written (or rewritten) to except inputs from this screen?

Re:Touchscreen keyboards (2, Insightful)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707767)

Just as keyboard driven applications had to be rewritten to accept input from mice. Horribly traumatic, wasn't it?

-Don

Re:Touchscreen keyboards (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707949)

I guess that if there had been several mice, each with a separate, independant cursor, then it might well have been necessary to do so.

Re:Touchscreen keyboards (1)

rm69990 (885744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708040)

So you're trying to tell me DOS applications ran with full mouse abilities on Windows 10 years ago? Drag+Drop and everything? Linux console applications in an Xterm?

Re:Touchscreen keyboards (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707878)

I'd go with "written" though there might be a few that exist that can break through the concept of having a single pointer, which is what this kind of touchscreen amounts to. Someone might make a mouse driver that uses the multiple points of contact to emulate a mouse (might even be able to make some operations easier than a normal touchpad, like drag and drop) but that wouldn't really use the full power of something like this.

It might be interesting to try and get some OS/windowing system to accept multiple pointers, and then write a driver for this that emulated N mice at once, where N = number of fingers currently on the screen. Moving a finger would attempt to figure out which mouse was released, and moving that mouse to the new location.

I can see plenty of uses for something like this in games or 3D visualization/manipulation software, but less use for it in word processors or the like (hmm... maybe hold down bold with one finger, while tapping the words you want bold with another?)

Re:Touchscreen keyboards (1)

fosterNutrition (953798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707893)

The fact that it accepts multiple input points is the key here. I'm really looking forward to the future when PCs are more like desks, with everything you need sitting right there on a giant touchscreen monitor (cf. the desk of that guy in the movie The Island). It would also be nifty to use this for digital music. No need to connect keyboards or anything like that, the monitor itself could replicate the functionality exactly, even touch-sensitiveness.

Vastly different than Touchscreen keyboards (5, Informative)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707632)

What's special is that it can sense more than one point of contact at once. In fact not just "more than one" but "any number of" points of contact in parallel. It's a totally different ball game than standard touch screens. A typical touch screen only reports one X,Y position at a time (like a mouse), which is typically the average of the points of contact (depending on the pressure, and the type of touch screen of course).

-Don

Re:Vastly different than Touchscreen keyboards (1)

DigitlDud (443365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707851)

It's not really that special. I think just about every CS research lab in a University has one of these projects.

Re:Vastly different than Touchscreen keyboards (4, Informative)

onemorehour (162028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707880)

What's special is that it can sense more than one point of contact at once.

That's not actually special when you're talking about some keyboards. I am typing this right now on a Fingerworks Touchstream LP, which is based on this technology. To type a single letter, you make one contact on the touchpad. To move your mouse, you put down two fingers simultaneously and move them. To click and drag, you use three fingers. To scroll, four. It also understands five-finger combinations and tracks movements, processing them as interactive "gestures" that can be mapped to functionality like opening, closing, saving, zooming, etc. This company was sadly bought out by some third party (rumored to be Apple or Wacom), who took the technology but has not kept up the line of keyboards. Apple's recent announcement makes me believe that they may have been the buyer.

Re:Vastly different than Touchscreen keyboards (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707963)

I've researched Fingerworks for a while (look at my other post on this thread) - I have to ask on the keyboard itself - after a while is it as fast and accurate as a regular keyboard or do your fingers drift and you get accidental stroke input?

Re:Vastly different than Touchscreen keyboards (1)

onemorehour (162028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708125)

I've owned mine for almost a year now, and I've found that while my typing speed is almost as good as it is on a normal keyboard, there are certain typos I make quite often. To some extent, I think you can't use this keyboard if your primary concern is speed. My primary concern was carpal tunnel, and it helps with that tremendously. I barely have to move my hands around at all, and I certainly never have to do any strange, hand-stretching movements in order to reach common keys like backspace. Modifiers are also easier--you just make a pattern with four fingers on one hand while typing the modified key with the other. It's surprising how quick this is to learn instinctively. Also, for what it's worth, I can go back and forth between this keyboard and a normal one without thinking about it.

It's a damn shame about the line going under though... I just hope this one I have lasts for a long long time.

Re:Vastly different than Touchscreen keyboards (1)

Gyorg_Lavode (520114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708138)

You can learn to type just as easily on the fingerworks as you can on a normal keyboard. When it comes down to it though, you will severely miss the tactile reaction. And the moving of your hands to/from the home row keys will be as disruptive as moving to a mouse. I would much more recommend one of their mouse/number pads to replace a mouse. They are very good for day-to-day computing, (working with windows, browsing etc). They are not good for playing games, (at least the keyboard portion wasn't), and for precision graphics, (just not accurate enough to click 1 specific pixel).

Re:Touchscreen keyboards (4, Funny)

murphyslawyer (534449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707873)

The difference is you could *totally* take down a Gibson with one of these puppies.

Re:Touchscreen keyboards (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707933)

Must.. not.. laugh.. at work.

Damn you!

Re:Touchscreen keyboards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707975)

Yep. How cute.

THat's cool (1, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707559)

But can you transfer warp power through the nacels with it.

It reminds me of the IOBrush.

Re:THat's cool (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707724)

Bah. Screw L-Cars. This brings me one step closer to getting Dillinger's desk computer from Tron.

Re:THat's cool (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707920)

It reminds me very much of Fingerworks technology [fingerworks.com] with multi-touch technology with gestures [fingerworks.com] of various sorts. More gestures here. On the surface, it looks like the exact same technology as the touchpads/keyboards but on the screen.

This company is now out of business (actually sold out VERY QUIETLY by Apple for the patents) [dreamhosters.com] and supposedly being used in the new iPod [dreamhosters.com] (I don't own one so I can't verify). It's really too bad, I always wanted their keyboard because it acts as a mouse too (on either side, plus has editable gestures plus a built in Emacs set plus a programming pad without moving your hand....)

Plus it has been suspected that Apple are using those patents now and applying for more patents [dreamhosters.com] for a Tablet that will have similiar capabilities.

Plus there's another company [jazzmutant.com] that has something for the music market that I find cool (but expensive).

Looks similar to Apple's recent patents. (2, Interesting)

Orrin Bloquy (898571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707564)

Which in turn look a lot like Apple recycling their iPod scrollwheel and Synaptics double-finger gestures.

Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707573)

Isn't this basically what Apple just tried to patent (multipoint touch displays)? Are they affiliated with Apple or any tech they may have bought? (No, I didn't RTFA).

Apple Patent (1)

MankyD (567984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707580)

Didn't we see Apple patent [slashdot.org] this sort of thing recently? Can anyone describe how this patent may or may not apply to the above demo?

organs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707585)

I'd offer up organs for one of these things.


Ok, let's say two original Mini-Moogs in mint condition for one touch screen display?

Re:organs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707662)

minimoogs aren't organs. they're not even polyphonic.

Re:organs (1, Flamebait)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707671)

I'd offer up organs for one of these things.

I'm sure a lot of us would be happy to offer up CmdrTaco's organs for one of these things, too. Now where's that bathtub full of ice cubes :-)

I need a kidney.... (1)

MajorDick (735308) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707587)

I bet you I could get a hold of one, whats your bloodtype ?

Just kidding but that is seriously cool, and I dont say that often.

I'd pay 2,500 for that Way before I would shell it out for a plasma TV....

Uber-cool (2, Interesting)

TheBeansprout (926731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707588)

The satellite imagery & topographic maps are the user navigating NASA World Wind [nasa.gov] . Way cool.

The Exploratorium had an exhibit like that (4, Interesting)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707591)

The Exploratorium [exploratorium.com] in San Francisco had a multi-point touch screen paint system like this in the early 90's, which anyone could play with. It was really great, and quite elegant! It was running a fun program that let you paint with your fingertips, real paintbrushes dipped in water, as well as textured objects like a sponge and play-dough. It used an oblique video camera behind a plate of glass, and your fingers or the wet brush changed the index of refraction in a way that would show up brightly on the camera, and thus paint on the screen. There was no limit to the number of points you could paint at once, and what you could use as a brush was only limited by your imagination and what you could get away with in public: you could paint with brushes, sponges, clay, your fingertips, the palms of both hands, your face, your tongue, your boobs, greasy french fries and hamburger patties, or vomit on the screen to make interesting textures. (It's a good thing the Exploratorium makes everything robust, kid-proof, and easy to clean! I've been to some great parties at that place...)

-Don

Re:The Exploratorium had an exhibit like that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707879)

Imaging trying to hook that thing up to your 360. Oh, the possibilities!

fingerworks (1)

Gyorg_Lavode (520114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707592)

It looks like a continuation of the technology employed by fingerworks [fingerworks.com] which used some type of capacitance array to track points. It looks like they finally have it on a visual screen. Hopefully this will increase the addoption of gesture-based controls.

Re:fingerworks (3, Interesting)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707838)

Entirely different - it's based on something called 'frustrated internal reflection'. Simple version: you have a thin slab of transparent perspex with LEDs around the sides. The light from the LEDs is kept inside thanks to total internal reflection - it's a bit like a big flat piece of fibre optic cable in a sense.

When you place a finger or other appendage on the upper surface of the perspex, the total internal reflection breaks down and the fingertip (or whatever) gets illuminated - you track this with a camera pointing upwards at the perspex. To get the computer display gubbins, you also have a video projector pointing at the perspex.

I'm not sure how amenable it is to miniaturisation, but since it's used in fingerprint readers (without the video display) it's probably not too bad - presumably you'd have to change the projector and camera to flat equivalents, of course...

(Something I noticed on the page last week - a reference to work on identifying which finger is touching the display. He's updated that sentence to "Wouldn't it also be nice to identify which finger (e.g. thumb, index, etc.) is associated with each contact?" - but I'd had a sudden vision of this thing using fingerprints as, well, unique finger identification tags. The guy behind it seems pretty big on computer vision, and is also working on stuff like a "new generation of CMOS imaging sensors that feature on-board signal processing functionality, we are experimenting with creating a 1000fps non-invasive eye-tracker for under $100" - maybe some custom hardware for tracking and zooming in on the glowing fingerprints and identifying the fingers from there?)

Not all the Software (2, Interesting)

fourtyfive (862341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707606)

They didnt write all their own software, they used NASA World Wind (http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov/ [nasa.gov] as well (satellite / aerial imagery viewer).

One problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707607)

"I'd offer up organs for one of these things."

But then how would you touch it?

very cool indeed. (1)

canning (228134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707615)

Hmmmmmm, though I wonder what power consumption is like.

Damnit!!! (5, Funny)

CatsupBoy (825578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707626)

Now my favorite touch screen gag is obsoleted:
User: This touch screen is awesome, but how do I right click on items?
Me: Use your right hand

*user stares blankly*

Re:Damnit!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707779)

Use a modifier key on the keyboard. This is ultimately less confusing and more convenient to new and experienced users alike.

May I suggest? (5, Funny)

Anti Frozt (655515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707640)

"I'd offer up organs for one of these things."

This being /., we all know which organ should be first to go, seeing as how it's the least used.

Re:May I suggest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707700)

This being /., we all know which organ should be first to go, seeing as how it's the least used.


Brain?

Re:May I suggest? (1)

LithiumX (717017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707729)

[insert insanely witty riposte regarding the awesome might of my hardware here]

Re:May I suggest? (1)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707922)

Offer up your hands... that monitor ain't so great now is it?

Least Used Organ - Appendix? (1)

SeanDuggan (732224) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708009)

Appendix?

Re:May I suggest? (1)

AhtirTano (638534) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708042)

This being /., we all know which organ should be first to go, seeing as how it's the least used.

You're right, the appendix should be the first to go.

Who wants one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707658)

Really? Organs eh? I'm in the process of building two of these for myself. The restrictions on FTIR are that you need lots of space behind the screen, for the cameras and the projector.

Benefits vs cost (2, Insightful)

zebadee (551743) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707672)

I appreciate that touch screens are faster to use in some situations compared to a mouse, and in some situations (public access terminals in a cinema etc.) they are better but for the average consumer are touch screens necessary. Most people out there have been brought up with the mouse and are very adapt at using it. Other than the coolness factor (akin to having the fastest graphics card available to play doom3 at 200fps) is there a real market/need for touch screens for general consumers? Especially comparing the price of a mouse/LCD monitor vs touch screen?

Re:Benefits vs cost (1)

LithiumX (717017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707774)

While the cost of this sort of hardware will be prohibitive for large-scale use, I fully believe that it's just this sort of interface that will someday replace the mouse. Keyboards are likely to remain in use for a very long time, but mice are simply a pointing device... and we all come with a natural built-in pointer (our fingers).

In the comming decades, I'd expect people's "monitors" to be replaced with hardware similar to this drafting-table design.

Re:Benefits vs cost (1)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707831)

What's so hard about using touch screens for the average consumer? They had to learn how to use mice, and it didn't kill them. I don't know of many ATMs that use mice, but a whole lot of them use touch screens, and they seem to be pretty popular with consumers.

But the point of this article that some people seem to be missing, is that the device is much more advanced than a typical touch screen, because it can sense multiple points of contact at once. Which is an advantage for people who have more than one finger. Why only use 1/10th of the fingers you were born with?

-Don

Re:Benefits vs cost (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708078)

What's so hard about using touch screens for the average consumer?
The design of their arms is all wrong [catb.org] .

Re:Benefits vs cost (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707865)

The number of ludditic comments on this technology website never cease to amaze me. To hear it from you guys, I would think we should all be happy with punch cards and blinkenlights.

Re:Benefits vs cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707997)

I have always had the opinion that the way we interact with information systems, by means of a physical pointer device and/or single point of interaction is counter-intuitive and cumbersome. Also, the confines of a single scale of visual representation makes utilization of display real-estate highly infefficient. By getting multiple points of interaction direcly onto the display, and having the possibillity to effortlessly move and scale information on the workspace, the user interaction reaches a higher level.

This demo does not show a standard touch screen. This may form the foundation for a more efficient and natural way of interacting with informations systems. This represents progress, not reuse of technology.

Regarding the Apple patent relevance, I cannot see much of a connection. Apple has patented gestures, not multiple points of interaction. Multiple points of interaction, and the user interface demo performed in the demo has huge amounts of prior art associated (ref. Minority Report, the Exploratorium installation, Wacom tablets and so on..)!

Man this sucks... (0, Offtopic)

Afecks (899057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707689)

...thanks for ruining the mouse and keyboard for me!

Go to the NYU page (1)

Hoffy97 (718167) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707694)

The NYU guy put the video up on Coral Cache, so just go to the main project page to get better response. The author should have listed THAT as the primary link anyway. That tech blog has nothing to do with the project, and that site is Slashdotted now anyway.

http://mrl.nyu.edu/~jhan/ftirtouch/ [nyu.edu]

This has nothing to do with Apple specifically, but after watching this demo, it has a lot of people thinking that way.

A deal... (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707696)

What if someone offered you one of these for one of your hands?

Me too (3, Funny)

thefirelane (586885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707743)

I'd offer up organs for one of these things

Me too, just not mine.

Ba-Bing!

Wow (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707756)

That's an incredible technology. If it works as demonstrated, I can see it replacing the mouse. If we can get useful keyboards in there (sorry, software-based on-screen keyboards suck, they lack tactile feedback) as well, this could open up a whole new way in which to interact.

See, a lot of buttons on the mouse and on the screen are merely to differentiate between different actions, e.g. resize, fullscreen or close a window. More logical and intuitive options are possible with multitouch technology, e.g. as shown in the demos.

Re:Wow (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707939)

Good point about the tactile feedback. I think the ultimate iteration of this device would incorporate some kind of magnetic or piezoelectric layer in a pixel grid, so that arbitrary pixels can be made to pulse. Pulse rapidly to create vibrations. This would enable tactile keyboard response, button clicking response, "dragging" response - all kinds of interesting tactile feedback.

Lemur! (1)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707757)

It's like a bigger fancier version of Jazzmutant [jazzmutant.com] 's Lemur device, used for controlling virtual synth plugins and the like. It even uses the same OSC protocol, I wonder if they're based on similar multi-touch tech...

OK, Show of Hands.. (1)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707788)

Who *likes* oily finger marks on their screen...

Re:OK, Show of Hands.. (1)

gcranston (901577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707942)

Seeing as I just had to wipe the pizza oil off my fingers to type this reply... you've got quite a good point there. On antoher note, I don't think organs will cut it for this thing. I think we're talking first born son here. I mean come on.. it's 2 steps away from the display in minority report: 1. Immersive 3d 2. Wicked awesome 3 finger glove deallies. And I totally want one.

Re:OK, Show of Hands.. (1)

Basehart (633304) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707989)

No problem. Just pick up a pack of Apple iGlove's.

Re:OK, Show of Hands.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708034)

Nobody. The logical progression of this device is a touchpad (about the size of your mousepad), separate from the main "viewing" monitor. Like those horrible old ones with the stylus, except it actually works.

Re:OK, Show of Hands.. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708055)

as if there weren't already tons of coating techniques against this...
they are just not boult in every cheap product. but so is this touchsceen. ;)

btw: I NEEED this thing RIGHT NOW!

One word... (1)

Ostien (893052) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707810)

Energize

Give your organs? How about 2190.00 EUR? (1)

dockthepod (540781) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707811)

There's already a device like this on the market called the lemur. It's not as big and grand, but you can buy it now and there's no need for surgery. http://www.jazzmutant.com/lemur_overview.php [jazzmutant.com]

Offer up organs you say? (1)

agent_blue (413772) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707823)

Would you give your your hands?

Reminds me of an idea... (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707844)

...I had back in the late 80s. I wanted to set up a dual layer LCD that would show you 3D images as generated by a computer. But it would be a transparent LCD panel mounted on top of a box that had IR grids scanning the X, Y and Z axes. As you would move your hands, you could shape and mould "virtual clay" with my software. Sadly I never got too far with it. This is kind of like a 2D version. The main point being that you should NEVER have to use an input device where interaction with the displayed object is too far abstracted from your hands interacting with normal objects. To be honest, this kind of technology SHOULD have happened around 1990. WE were already "there" so to speak at that point. Well those of us in the Amiga, Mac and even the Atari computer circles...

Myron Krueger's Videodesk System (2, Informative)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708028)

Here's a description of Myron Krueger's classic Videodesk system, from Jakob Nielson's CHI'88 Trip Report [useit.com] (in which he also described our presentation of pie menus).

-Don

Videodesk: Computing on the Desktop

Current marketing trends in the personal computer business emphasize "desktop this" and "desktop that" - desktop publishing, desktop presentations, desktop video, desktop CAD... as a catch phrase for doing things on small, desktop computers. It is also possible, however, to actually do computing on the desktop itself. This was demonstrated by Myron Krueger from the Artificial Reality Corporation in the Videodesk system: Videodesk consists of a large surface over which you move your arms, hands, and fingers. A video camera mounted over the desk picks up these movements and use them as input to the computer which then shows then as an outline on the display. This display is currently separate from the desktop surface but one might imagine that a future system would feel even more natural to the user by having the output display projected directly onto the input surface.

Several applications were shown. One of the most immediately understandable was a finger painting system where the color used was determined by the number of fingers shown. I asked Krueger why the system deposited the paint over the user's finger rather than under it which might have seemed more natural. His answer was that sometimes one would not want the hand to obscure the work being drawn.

The painting was cleared by spreading all fingers. Some of these gestures seemed very natural, including the clearing gesture. Gestures in other applications were not that obvious but still frequently very nice, such as having a straight line appear between two fingertips in a CAD-system. One problem they had in developing their gestural language was in parsing hand movements to determine when you just want to move your hand to another part of the screen and when you want to issue a command. In general, there seemed not to be much consistency in the interaction techniques used in the different parts of the system with the exception of the technique of reaching to the upper right corner of the screen to pull out the main menu.

Videodesk is really a special version of the older Videoplace system where the computer is an entire room which you enter to use your body as input device. As such, Videodesk was yet another example of the evolutionary trend at this CHI. The full Videoplace system was not available for the conference as it was installed as part of a large exhibit on Computers and Art at the IBM Building in New York. This was a very interesting exhibition which I had seen by accident before coming to Washington: I had originally jumped on the M2 bus to go uptown to the Metropolitan Museum when I looked out the window and saw a poster at the IBM Building for their special exhibition. Yet another advantage of not using a constrained "transport interface" like the subway: You can change your mind.

Lemur++? (3, Informative)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707853)

FWIW, you can buy something like this right now. The Lemur [jazzmutant.com] is a touch screen that supports multiple touch-points at once, and communicates over Ethernet via OpenSoundControl [berkeley.edu] . I have one on my desk at work, and it works well -- e.g. I can use 5 fingers to drag 5 different balls around the Lemur's touch-screen simultaneously, and see my actions mirrored instantaneously on the software on my PC.

on digg last week - and not an actual display (1)

xirtam_work (560625) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707860)

Sorry to say this was on Digg last week which is why i thought it was either a dupe or old news. The display is a rear projection - not part of the input device. All looks very nice and the recent Apple patent s do appear to be based on this work, at least in part.

Re:on digg last week - and not an actual display (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707896)

Slashdot digs a dug digg article a week later. I dug it then, dig it?

NIGGA (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707861)

ComprehensiVe inTo a sling unless

I'd offer up organs for one of these things. (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707864)

I'd offer up organs for a lot of things, this just happens to NOT be one of them. Maybe for a Lamborghini, a mansion, some super-model to love me and hold me and squeeze me - but yea, not a touch screen.
Now if we were talking true VR (think matrix) then yea they could have my organs.

Oh no... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707888)

What happens when someone watches porn on this thing....

Star Trek (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707910)

I'm surprised no one has mentioned this looks like Star Trek: TNG consoles.

Either way... I could really use something like this, but I bet it gets dirty really quick. My Nintendo DS is kind of greasy as it is.

Software more impressive than hardware... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707944)

The demo is simply amazing and the future seems like a very cool place. But, in many ways, hardware like this really highlights the need for more inuitive SOFTWARE. The demo is not cool because you can wave your hands around on the screen. It is impressive because the computer in the demo seems to understand what the user wants to do. Whether you're using a single-button mouse or eight fingers, software that can anticipate a user's needs is what is really impressive. Programmers should understand this.

How it works (1)

Gogogoch (663730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707953)

So by following the actual links it seems to work by capturing an image of the plexiglass screen from behind. The screen is lit from the side, and each contact creates some scattering (via frustrated total internal reflectance) that can be picked up by the camera. Software then sorts out each contact (from background) and tracks them. So it is multi-touch up to the capability of the software, and the ability of the system to resolve one touch from another. I notice in the video they show in their website that these multiple touches dont get too close to each other. I wonder what the limitation is?

The display is then created by rear-projection, ie probably a regular video projector. I wonder how they separate the scattered touch image from the projected display? Perhaps one can be subtracted from the other?

Anyway, this means they have done a lot with a little. I imagine that the practical limitation is the physical dimension used to implement all these projectors and cameras.

Very nice demo though, particularly the software that their contributors wrote to show it off.

Re:How it works (1)

NowakPL (888097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707986)

I think the touch camera works in infrared

Re:How it works (1)

Gogogoch (663730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708044)

Brilliant - that would do it. Separation by wavelength.

Not practical (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707954)

I had an orgasm just watching the video. Can you imagine how embarassing that would be if I used the thing 8 hours a day in an office???

Re:Not practical (1)

Gogogoch (663730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708000)

Using this for 8 hours a day? Imagine how tired your arms, your wrists would be! I hope it gets you off because you won't be up to doing anything yourself!! :-)

Luddites, go hide! (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707957)

Anybody that can't see the benefits and cool factor of this need to go back to their caves and pull out some charcoal.

Someone said they can't see the average user wanting this? Did you see the video? I could see about a dozen areas that the average end user would wan this display for:

Multimedia organization( group photos quickly and in a more native concept)
Multimedia editing.
More robust UI interaction and quicker access. Believe it or not, the computer mouse is not intuitive compared to point and touch.
Video games, more interaction and unique game play possibilities.

Did you watch the video?

As a UI interface designer, I could easily see how some fairly complex interaction is handled quickly by being able to use multiple points of contact. Trying to duplicate the same interaction with mouse and keyboard is ancient and slow by comparison.

In the end, this is an interactive display that the average end users WANT. Get rid of the keyboard and mouse! This will allow computers to be setup as interactive displays on walls, or the coffee table or counter or desktop top allowing quick and easy access without cumbersome external interfaces forced on us.

I didn't think this was for me (1)

sjonke (457707) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707964)

until I read that it was based on Frustrated Total Internal Reflection [nyu.edu] . This baby *is* for me. Plus, butt mousing.

Why isn't Google? (1)

JeepingNET (522361) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707977)

What? Why isn't google working on this!!

Minority Report (5, Insightful)

tamnir (230394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707982)

After the initial "Oooooh, shiny! I'll give a kidney for one!" impulse, this reminds me quite a bit of the spiffy user interface in Minority Report, probably because of the intense arms-waving involved. So, makes me think the same too: very cool to see, but highly impractical. Your arms and shoulders would get painfully tired after just a few minutes using this...

So, I'll be keeping my kidney this time, thank you very much. I'll just go grab a box of tissues and watch the video again... ;-)

Re:Minority Report (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708127)

If you think your arms and shoulders will get painfully tired from using this device, you really need to consider getting out of your parent's basement for some exercise.

Considering all the wanking you're probably doing, your arms and shoulders should be in fine shape for this device anyhow.

I think this will replace the mouse (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707984)

After watching the video, I think this new touch screen seems to be a major improvement. I can see it replacing the mouse for laptops, then later desktops, unlike the current stuff that is nowhere near that good. Which really surprised me. Just the simple things like zooming that you can do with two touch points (move fingers together to zoom out, move fingers away to zoom in), really impressed me.

The future is here (1)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707992)

Soon, new software will allow nerds to graduate in nipple handling. It's very delicate and requires some hardcore training.

Me, too. (2, Funny)

butterwise (862336) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708002)

Very cool. I'd offer up your organs for one of these, too.

Won't sell to one market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708003)

This will have zero appeal to all the people who surf with one hand...

Ultimate? Er, I doubt it (1)

dlefavor (725930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708006)

Since "ultimate" means "last".

Sorry...pet peeve. Mod me down if you must.

Finally! (1)

1+(smarterThanYou) (539258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708050)

A way to eliminate those annoying dual-touch errors in Erotic Photo Hunt.

It'll never fly. (5, Funny)

doublem (118724) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708075)

Let me spell it out:

Major technological innovations in computers and the Internet have been driven by porn. Adoption rates are, among most early adopters, driven by that technology's ability to deliver porn. This is true of Broadband, the early graphics card races, DVD drives and the Internet itself.

This interface requires two hands.

Need I say more?

Don't make me to spell it out in anatomical detail.

One Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708096)

Where's my minority report!?!?!?

Fantastic, bar none... (1)

ursabear (818651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708109)

The demonstration of the technology is without a doubt the nicest technology demo I've seen in a decade (on top of the fact that the technology is great).

I don't like to predict, but feel like I must: My children's children will see this type of thing on a daily basis.

I've always wanted to be able to brainstorm in a free-form and extremely editable way, with both hands and all fingers - this technology would be intuitive to my design process. This beats even a touch-tablet by a mile.

I'd give my left hand (5, Funny)

mattnuzum (839319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708136)

I'd give my left hand for a two-handed touch screen. ;-)

In other news (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708139)

Windex shares are up 15%
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