Multi-touch Coming Soon

Microsoft’s “Surface” technology, announced on Tuesday at the Wall Street Journal’s “D: All Things Digital” conference, is a multi-touch point-of-sale device for stores and casinos — a computerized coffee table that houses a little DLP projector and cameras to sense the positions of your hands. Priced at five to ten thousand bucks, they envision people using it for shopping and photo browsing, but over time, the form factor will evolve and the price will come down. Take a look at these links and tell me that you don’t want something like this for editing.

Popular Mechanics Video
PC World Story

Ars Technica Story

MS Surface Site

Microsoft implies that they invented it, and Apple, using related technology in the iPhone, does, too. But the original ideas came from university labs. I’ve talked about it before, here. Check out this video demo by NYU’s Jeff Han from last year’s TED conference.

Multi-touch offers multiple simultaneous points of interaction with the computer, as opposed to a mouse, which offers only one. And it allows for direct manipulation, where you physically touch the display. You get much more sensory bandwidth to the device, and, as a result, it feels more organic and intuitive. Microsoft’s system can also interact with tagged objects that are placed upon it.

I sure don’t want to edit hunched over a coffee table, but in the right form factor this might really be a slick way to work.

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3 Comments on “Multi-touch Coming Soon”

  1. Aaron Joseph Says:

    As an aspiring film & video editor, I believe that this advancement in editing may be a hard shift for early adopters of digital editing and even harder still for those editors from the early days of cutting celluloid. However, I feel like this will usher in a fantastic kind of work flow which could easily help the relationship between the director/producer/editor as it will all be represented visually. Hopefully this comes sooner than later and with great care to whomever adapts this technology for film/tv/video editing.

    – Aaron.

  2. Liam Says:

    I’m looking forward to it! The amount of times ive been thinking i wish i could move something in the bin while i was scrolling through the timeline etc.and seeing the system in Minority Report as well also makes the imagination work over time. I think mouse/pens are here to stay but definitely being able to access different parts of the program at the same time seems like an awesome feature at the least.

  3. Mark Raudonis Says:

    Final cut pro’s “Color” program is already capable of taking the input from multiple trackballs set up like a “Da Vinci” control panel. While not quite as revolutionary as what’s described above, these trackballs are here today, and allow a colorist to input NINE parameters at once, compared to a single parameter with a mouse or pen. Anyone who’s used them swears that you’re just NOT a professional without ’em.

    Since motion graphics and picture editing require so much input from the artist, this area is RIPE for someone to come in and create the killer control surface. I look forward to that day.


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