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Microsoft R&D strikes again: the LucidTouch

Microsoft, a company that's been increasingly active in the world of interface research and development, has been dipping its toes further into the multi-touch pool with one of its latest projects: the LucidTouch. The new interface, developed in collaboration with Mitsubishi, adds double-sided touch to a 7-inch, handheld, Surface-esque panel (mysteriously similar to an Apple patent which we saw recently). The new system reveals placement of a user's hands behind the touch surface through the use of a mounted camera -- though future iterations would use surface-based sensors to show the digits -- and a touch pad mounted to the back allows interaction with on-screen objects. In addition to the panel itself, the designers have implemented "assistant" UI components that help ease use of the unique hand location, including a dragging system which allows you to "pass off" an object from one finger to another, and a customized keyboard layout that permits touch-typing at the somewhat awkward new angle. One of the areas researchers feel the technology could be implemented is gaming, though we suspect there might be more important applications for this kind of interface... like virtual "dating." Check the video after the break to see the literal hands-on.

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Mark @ Aug 24th 2007 9:56AM

Touching is good!

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eh_wth @ Aug 24th 2007 9:59AM

Cue goatse references in 3, 2, 1...

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Sharon @ Aug 24th 2007 10:45AM

So now males with big hands not only have more inches under the belt but can also work with bigger screens.
Life just isn't fair.

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Rainier @ Aug 24th 2007 11:16AM

The next evolutionary step for Etch-A-Sketch will

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plyx @ Aug 24th 2007 11:21AM

Why the hell is Mitsubishi playing footsie with Microsoft AND Sony right at the same time?

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Dale @ Aug 24th 2007 11:48AM

Because only fanboys care about silly little rivalries. Companies care about making products and in turn money.

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plyx @ Aug 24th 2007 12:27PM

Don't care about the rivalry, not a fanboy (got PSWii60), just a conspiracy theorist.


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ssuk @ Aug 24th 2007 11:33AM

IN B4 "IT'LL BREAK DOWN IN 2 MONTHS" and random comments by certain rival console's fanboys who are under the age of 11 year of age either mentally or physically.

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MasterCKO @ Aug 24th 2007 12:39PM

this is kinda cool. I'd like to see something with this interface, just because it is pretty unique.

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Philip @ Aug 24th 2007 2:46PM

As the CEO of a touch sensor start-up, Sima Systems, I think this implementation of a backside sensor is plain ridiculous at best or just awful at worst. I mean a camera, give me a break. I presented our backside touch technology to some touch sensor guys at MS research last June. They did not have a clue. It may be a coincidence but we disclosed our target applications very similar to those describe in the video. If this is their response to Apple's patent previously mentioned then buy Apple and short MS.

By the way multi-touch is just one aspect of advanced touch sensors. Another critical aspect is 'dual force'. Locating/navigating with mutiple-touch is straight forward and simple but activating by just exerting more pressure requires a great deal more intelligent creativity. While I am at it, how about relative positioning? MS demonstrates fingers touching a fixed keyboard, so what. The real solution is the keyboard moves with the fingers. Now your fingers are the keys.

Philip Coyne
Sima Systems

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Marcos @ Aug 24th 2007 7:05PM

This is a really cool concept. Reminds me of the first multitouch demo video I saw, in which the hands showed as shadows on screen, and the user interacts on a table with a camera (not directly on the display).

Still, the only widely available multitouch technology is Apple's iPhone... but the future looks good.

(MS Surface is very cool too)

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