Multi-touch under constraint

Lots of people are excited about multi-touch these days. The iPhone allows you to interact in a picture by pinching or squeezing it. Microsoft is working on "surface" a table that allows you interact by touch (and also pay by placing your credit card on it and dragging a receipt to the card). For anyone that didn't catch the video of Jeff Han's multi-touch screen, you can see it here. The point is that you can touch multiple locations at once and the screen picks up. My point is its "hard" to do and probably expensive. Now, I'm not going to argue that this sample is of the same quality or that it is as commercially viable. I do think that it accomplishes the same concept with a completely different set of constraints. Instead of saying "hey, multi-touch is hard and expensive" he started with: "I want multi-touch. How can I do it myself." (I suspect that there is probably also a constraint about hardware as he uses very simple hardware and isn't hacking open LCD screens or anything.) The video: At this point, all the multi-touch input is, from a useful UI standpoint, either limited (iPhone) or undeveloped and just sample (MS, Jeff Han). I think that once we start having the interface available, then we'll really see what we can do with it. What do widgets and buttons look like if they are for multi-touch instead of a mouse? What about games? What about web pages and web browsing? Related (UI): moving around Google Maps with Atlas gloves Update (Sept 26): Signals vs. Noise found this video, with the comment: "So cool to see this sort of innovative thinking and embrace of constraints."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007, 12:00 AM

tagged: constraints, multitouch, googlemaps, interfaces