Not quite direct manipulation

Earlier this month an Apple patented a multi-touch interface device for a portable computer. One illustration shows a camera above the screen that can detect people’s hands over a wide trackpad:

Apple’s multitouch laptop patent image

This means that until every screen that we have is touch sensitive, we’ll have touch devices that can recognise multiple fingers at the same time that will manipulate things on a seperate screen. They’ll have the same feature that the iPhone has – they’ll be able to detect fingers that haven’t quite touched yet. The advantage of that is we can choose where we touch before committing.

Following on from the previous post, fingers that hover could be shown as unfilled circles, while fingers that are touching would be filled transparent circles.

Four fingers on a multitouch control using Avid software

In this example, the editor has their left hand over the multi-touch device. The index finger is touching, so its red circle is filled. As we are in trim mode the current cursor for the index finger is the B-side roller because it is touching a roller. The other fingers are almost touching. They are shown with unfilled circles with faint cursors that are the correct based on where they are on the screen: the middle and ring fingers have the arrow cursor, if the little (pinky) finger touches, then it would be trimming the A-side roller.

Looks like it might be possible to come up with user interface extensions that let us use new interface devices with older software.

  1. Idetrorce said:

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

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