SideSight, a new Microsoft-developed technology looks like something that deserves to be on a next-generation iPod touch. Or in a magician's repertoire. The SideSight technology is contained in yet another paper that company executives are presenting at the User Interface Software and Technology conference this week. (See Microsoft's take on new ways that cell phones could "talk" as well as guided tours of images.), The paper in question is titled "SideSight: Multi-"touch" Interaction Around Small Devices," and is authored by Alex Butler, Shahram Izadi, and Steve Hodges, all with Microsoft Research UK.
SideSight removes "touch" from the device and makes it a function of the paper, tabletop, or even the air that's next to the device. What does this mean? According to Microsoft, it opens up the possibility for "touch" functions to be built into tiny devices that don't actually need a touchscreen.