We’re Just Scratching the Surface of Multitouch

Wired just published a great interview with Jeff Han, here are some highlights:

SAN JOSE, California—Jeff Han has some simple advice for companies thinking about how to integrate the latest interface technology into their products: Start over.

Jeff Han: ”It’s like Yoda said, you must unlearn what you’ve learned,” he says, referring to the 40 years that the mouse and keyboard have dictated how we interact with computers.

Admittedly, that’s no easy task, so the multitouch pioneer and his company, Perceptive Pixel, have devoted the better part of two years to building an entirely new multitouch framework from the ground up. Instead of simply mapping multitouch technology to familiar interfaces and devices, Han’s goal is far more sweeping: To use the technology as a foundation for an entirely new operating system.

What we’ve done is essentially rebuilt that entire stack. We did it because there was enough stuff to actually pull out. We didn’t want to. Frankly, nobody really wants to rebuild something like that, but we knew there would be some payoffs. It took a lot of time, but since the TED 2006 talk, that’s what we’ve been doing—just the fundamental behind-the-scenes stuff, the foundational work.

I actually think it’s very important to start using these systems not as gimmicks or for doing things like, say, ordering drinks at a restaurant. Instead, let’s see how useful this will be for helping collaboration in a creative company or for info visualization or presentation.

Wired.com: But for the technology to become truly pervasive isn’t it important to have, say, a universal series of gestures that everyone can agree on?

Han: That’s a great question. In order for this ecosystem to survive, there’s going to have to be some standards bodies that say even though we’re competitors, let’s agree on some terminology, let’s agree on some sub-gestures that none of us technically own.

Wired.com So, aside from building a new multitouch OS from the ground up, what else have you been working on? And long term, will multitouch simply give way to multi-gesture, as in Minority Report?

Han:… The answer to the second question is: I hate Minority Report. I hate pure gestural interfaces because they actually work very poorly. It’s been proven. The human body really needs that kind of tactile feedback. However, combining it with touch, I do believe that for a future far out there, integrating the two together may actually be more successful that each one on its own.

Read the Full Article [thanks pawel]


LOL @ “I hate Minority Report"…

Thanks for sharing nuiman - yet another interesting link smile

Really kool stuff.

The post cut off the part where he told that to protect his (small) company, they’re going to patent both HW and SW. In particular they were speaking about gestures. I’m sorry to note that patents arrived to this. Being a unexplored topic there will be a lot of patents.

A part of the “standard” gestures on which they’ll probably agree, we’re risking to have a series of actions that we won’t able to do without paying. Or stealing. Thanks to all that would patent a double click (or a ‘tap’ in this case) to open a file if they could.


"The human body really needs that kind of tactile feedback”

Although multi touch screen is tactile, it doesn’t have haptic response. han’s multi touch has structural limit also.

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