Mitsubishi, Microsoft and the University of Toronto have put together an interesting hack to demonstrate a new kind of multi touch display. Current touchscreen tech suffers because the act of touching obscures the bit of the screen you need to hit. The LucidTouch fakes a transparent screen, allowing users to control it from behind and "see" their fingers.
The prototype uses a camera on a stick, a Fingerworks multitouch pad
and an LCD display. The pad tracks the fingers and the camera image is
overlaid onto the screen.
Right now it's slow and kludgy, but speed things up and get rid of the boom at the back and this looks like a winner. There are even some neat little interface ideas: push an icon to the middle of the screen and it grows, ready to be grabbed by the other hand. The re-fashioned QWERTY keyboard could be either great or terrible, though. It's split in two and turned 90º, but apparently the keys fall to the fingers as they would with a normal QWERTY.
Now it has debuted on the iPhone, Multi Touch is only going to spread. If all the innovation makes our gadgets easier to use, great. If not, you can keep it (I'm looking at you, T9)
'Transparent' gadget could trump iPhone interface [New Scientist]