Multi-Touch Has Arrived
Written by David R Jennings   
Saturday, 05 May 2007


Remember the movie Minority Report and how quickly Tom Cruise could manipulate images and video using a 3-D hand-in-glove system?   Well, that Sci-Fi tech was based on the real world tech of interface designer and MIT graduate John Underkoffler. His two handed interface was already on the drawing board when the movie came out and is now a working application looking for a home.
"Gestural computer interface applications are about to change our whole interaction with technology."
Interfacing with your computer using a point-and-click mouse is akin to using a brick to touch-up a painting. Most human dexterity comes from the fingers and hand not the wrist. Pen-tablet systems have been the only interface applications available for computer artist for the past decade, allowing many times the flexibility of a mouse.

Wacom Technology manufactures some of the best pen-tablet systems on the market, and are now offering a blue-tooth wireless tablet which un-tethers the tablet from the computer. But these tablet-pen interfaces will soon vanish along with the mouse to be replaced by even more intuitive systems like multi-touch or the Minority Report hand-in-glove style system.

Multi-touch was introduced about a year ago by Jeffery Han. See Han's amazing public debute of Multi-touch here. It allows the user to manipulate on screen data using simple intuitive hand geastures. Han describes the multi-touch interface as "natural" and says it's basics only takes seconds to learn.

Sometime in June 2007 Apple will be introducing Multi-touch as the interface application for the iPhone . This simplified version of multi-touch will introduce millions to the possibilities of multi-touch in preparation for a roll-out for desktop and laptop systems, (updates that are only now being speculated).

So don't get to attached to your little mouse friend. He has served us well but his point-and-click days are numbered. Once multi-touch and other similar systems hit the market brick users will soon discover they have about seven fingers they have never introduced to their computer.

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