Friday, June 01, 2007

Multi-touch - a new cool?

It seems that articles about multi-touch UIs are everywhere at the moment. This shows that organisations with huge marketing budgets can punch their way into the headlines.

Anyone would think that Microsoft had actually innovated for a change ... but no, it is more of the usual embracing of existing ideas but then adding brilliant marketing to the mix (one thing MS do very well indeed).

A very cool example of a deployed multi touch is the Helsinki City Wall (watch the video):

CityWall – About

Also, I just read a post by Alan Kay on this subject. As usual, he brings a sense of perspective:

Actually, this idea goes way back into the ARPA research community of the 60s and 70s. Maybe the first time it was done was by Mort Bernstein and the RAND tablet guys in the 60s using a very powerful Eidophor projector that could project an image through the translucent RAND tablet (almost melting it!). Nicholas Negroponte and his folks at the Arch-Mac group in the 70s did a very nice and usable table with rear projection, etc., (they also did the first multitouch tablet surface (Chris Herot, et al.)

And, of course, there was a PONG table later on by Atari (but done
before I got there).

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