Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 10th Jul 2012 01:24 UTC
Microsoft "Microsoft and Perceptive Pixel Inc. (PPI) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire PPI, a recognized leader in research, development and production of large-scale, multi-touch display solutions." Yes, Jeff Han is now a Microsoft employee. This demo still amazes me - from 2006. Before the iPhone. Before Android. Before the iPad. Remember that the next time you wind up in a discussion about who supposedly invented what.
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I built one too!
by Alfman on Tue 10th Jul 2012 02:07 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

I built a multi touch tracking panel, years ago now. There were actually tons of people building these, and it looked so easy I had to try for myself. Just take a pane of glass and put it in a frame full of LEDs on the sides...seal it up and touch the glass, now fingerprints will shine through. Place something partially opaque against the glass to project an image onto (some plastic bags can work, or thin paper). Now you've got a touch screen!

Note: They say to use IR so it doesn't interfere with visible light, but visible spectrum works never the less and could be filtered/tracked easily with a web cam.

One component I needed and couldn't afford was a video projector, I improvised with a cheap static photo projector just to prove the concept. I still have alot of ideas for MT applications on large surfaces. It looks like alot of multitouch work is being done in universities now.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71BfgXZVBzM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jxbS1c_HU4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VNTPwVvLzE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6E36k70cKAw

I can't wait for cheap hardware to be available (something the size of a wall rather than a monitor). I predicted these interactive surfaces would start to show up everywhere in the public spaces, still hasn't happened yet as far as I know.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I built one too!
by Morgan on Tue 10th Jul 2012 08:01 in reply to "I built one too!"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I have a small glass-top computer desk that is screaming to be used as a multitouch input device. It's slightly larger than the glass panel in the demo that Thom linked (which was freaking awesome btw).

I'm picturing an interface similar to what you see in a lot of sci-fi themed anime, where the glass surface changes to reflect whatever type of input you need at the time: Keyboard, vector manipulation, musical instrument, etc.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: I built one too!
by Neolander on Tue 10th Jul 2012 10:42 in reply to "I built one too!"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I once worked in an acoustics lab where people detected tapping and dragging motion using a flat surface (regular table) with a few cheap piezo microphones stuck on it and a computer program.

It's crazy that modern touchscreens use something as complicated, unreliable and expensive as capacitive sensing, when so many simpler approaches exist...

Edited 2012-07-10 10:53 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I built one too!
by Laurence on Tue 10th Jul 2012 13:42 in reply to "RE: I built one too!"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I'm not convinced that a microphoned approach would be any more reliable than capacitive sensing. In fact I'd wager it would be far less reliable as it would be subject to outside interference. It's one thing having such a technique work in lab conditions, but when you're at a noisy train station and the phone is in your pocket or trying to detect multi-touch gestures under such environments. Certainly in the for former scenario, you could run the risk of triggering all sorts of false positives. Sure, with enough code you could account for most scenarios, but then you'd create something more complex then detecting the variable voltage change from a persons fingers.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I built one too!
by Alfman on Tue 10th Jul 2012 14:11 in reply to "RE: I built one too!"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Is this how some of the marker whiteboards work?

It's a standard whiteboard, nothing electronic in it, used with special markers and a detector on the side. It records everything written on the whiteboard to a program.

I've seen this same system hooked up to projection screen and used to interact with a windows desktop.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I built one too!
by phti on Tue 10th Jul 2012 14:25 in reply to "RE: I built one too!"
phti Member since:
2012-06-02

well, that might have worked in a lab, but think about real life: noise interferences and all the problems that a "cheap piezo" would have when exposed to daily heavy usage.
capacitive sensing is not at all unreliable, just take a look at how well it works on an ipad or similar devices. by now it's the best technology we came up with for touch surfaces. too bad it's still expensive and not usable on large surfaces.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: I built one too!
by zima on Tue 10th Jul 2012 17:22 in reply to "I built one too!"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Just take a pane of glass and put it in a frame full of LEDs on the sides...seal it up and touch the glass, now fingerprints will shine through. Place something partially opaque against the glass to project an image onto

Some folks at Nokia Research Center Tampere built such style of touchscreen out of ice, some time ago:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbtrI6GjBsk
http://research.nokia.com/news/11362
Not sure how useful the experiment was, for Nokia, but it looks like they had some fun (so perhaps team-bonding usefulness)

And in the related of the above video, there's http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7ENumwMohs - ~AutoCAD on... Perceptive Pixel.

Bringing back the drafting board could end up awesome (but make it properly tilted...), when expanding it further in ways which ~desktop UI cannot (present CAD user interaction definitely also lost something when "upgrading" from drafting boards).
Similar with music software, video editing, photos. Perhaps that's what MS sees with Metro (and forcing the thing now, a bit, so the software will be ready when inexpensive large displays arrive in a few years) - sure, it's a bit awkward now, but their desktop OS also really took off only with 3.x...

Note: They say to use IR so it doesn't interfere with visible light, but visible spectrum works never the less and could be filtered/tracked easily with a web cam.

BTW, webcam sensors are sensitive to near-IR, and many webcams can be easily modified to see it: just remove the IR filter in the lens (or, to see it only: replace the IR filter with visible light filter that lets through IR - the dark areas at the ends of photographic film work decently, IIRC)

Edited 2012-07-10 17:29 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2