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Microsoft unveils Omnitouch, the touchscreen for any surface

by Steven Williamson on 18 October 2011, 14:35

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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Microsoft researchers have unveiled Omnitouch, a clever way to turn any surface area into a navigatable touchscreen.

In a joint project with Carnegie Mellon University, Microsoft reveals that the technology works in a similar way to Kinect, but is “modified to work at short range” to track finger movements.

In the demonstration shown below we see how the projector superimposes a keyboard image onto a hand and a notepad, and then users are able to tap and drag their fingers across the pad.

A rather awkward-looking contraption, showing Microsoft’s Kinect sensor perching on the shoulders of participants in the trial, shows how "you can tap on your hand or drag your interface out to specify the top left and bottom right border," explains researcher Hrvoje Benko.

"All this stems from the main idea that if everything around you is a potential interface, then the first action has to be defining an interface area."

“The surface area of one hand alone exceeds that of typical smart phones. Tables are an order of magnitude larger than a tablet computer. If we could appropriate these ad hoc surfaces in an on-demand way, we could deliver all of the benefits of mobility while expanding the user’s interactive capability,” enthuses Benko, suggesting that he could actually see people strapping these devices to themselves and embracing the technology.

We think it’s going to be a long time before we’ll see people walking around with cameras strapped to their shoulders texting people on their hands. This would ruin family dinner times, wouldn't it?

You can read more about the project on the official at the Microsoft Research website.

HEXUS Forums :: 6 Comments

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That is awesome. Surely the future, just needs that unit shrunk by a factor of about 50…
As a proof of technology that's remarkable. It'd make something like the Mozilla Seabird concept phone a genuine possibility. Sure the actual device isn't practical at the minute, but the technology is obviously functional, and I'm sure plenty of people will have the vision to productise it in the future…
Pretty cutting edge. Just wait and soon we'll have a unit that's 1/1000th the size of that implanted into our heads!
I wonder if microsoft will make anything of this though.

They had demos of surface for years, and just let apple and others take over the touchscreen space…. still amazed they cancelled courier as well.
Looks to me like another lab project that makes us WOW but never gets marketed.