The word of 2007 is "multi-touch". It?s everywhere, from the iPhone to the Microsoft Surface. We weren?t happy with just one finger on the touch-sensitive screens, we wanted to put all 10 fingers and probably some toes on too, and multi-touch was born.
The idea of having a multi-touch-capable laptop sounds pretty sweet, but of course no one would want to carry a cathode-ray-tube in their backpack, so how do you come up with a solution for a screen less than an inch thick? Microsoft Research Cambridge?s Steve Hodges might have the answer.
Steve?s solution is remarkably simple yet effective. With an off-the-shelf laptop, he retrofitted some infrared sensors on the back and together with the magic of software, you have multi-touch! Check out the following video clip (excerpt from MSR Cambridge video) to see his demonstration. It has all the dragging and pinching demos you?d expect to see in every multi-touch display, so don?t expect to be blown away.
Granted the sensors are a little thick at the moment and only affect a portion of the screen, but it?s dead simple and presumably just as cheap. Obviously with some more work on the production and aesthetics side of things (no one wants a hole in the back of their screen), this could become a mainstream solution.
In addition, because he uses infrared technology, an added enhancement is the ability to pick up infrared signals from a standard remote. There?s nothing exactly new about remotes and laptops, several on the market already use built-in remotes for media browsing activities. However again, this could drive the technology mainstream and spark a whole wave of do-it-yourself infrared hacks for computers.
Having said all that, the rate at which Microsoft Research projects are realized is not exactly fast or even promising for that matter. I hope this one picks up some pace and interest from computer manufacturers so all of us can twist and pinch pictures on our laptops in the near future.
Source:→ istartedsomethingMicrosoft, Microsoft Research, Multi-touch capable Laptop, Laptop-compatible Multi-touch Displays, Mulit-touch, iPhone, YouTube, Online video