Since Microsoft hired the Rolling Stones for the product launch of Windows 95 to play the song Start Me Up 12 years ago do not be surprised if some Consumer Electronics vendor licenses a song from The Who with the title: Feel Me, Touch Me.
We have really reached the George Jetson age with touch input technology. As I create this entry I manipulate the screen using Apples Magic Pad. While it works great in Apples Mountain Lion, using virtualization technology I am delighted to report the multi point touchpad does well with Windows 8 as well.
And folks, that is just the beginning. On 6 September 2012 Amazon.com updated the Kindle family with an entire refresh of the Fire lineup. Yes, they also have improved there bi-tonal offerings as well.
Mere days from now Apple will do something stunning to the world with its iPhone 5. Certainly the holiday battle season for your hard-earned dollars in 2012 is shaping up.
The centerpiece of all this evolution/revolution comes down to two things. Battery-powered handheld computers and multitouch capacitance-based touchscreens.
The new Kindle Fires feature 10 point touch technology. And we’re not done yet.
Combined with efficient batteries, low-power yet powerful Integrated Circuits and wireless technology that really moves the missing link has always been touch.
Consider human development. A Homo sapien with a mere single year on the planet is not able to really speak and just learning to walk. However he/she is able to do one thing beyond soil the diapers. That is point with a finger.
Clearly it is the most intuitive methodology of communication we have as humans. Quickly disappearing off the planet is the old resistive technology. Capacitance driven touchscreens are becoming part of our daily lives.
While is always been a natural form of communication the technology has not been there for a satisfying user experience, until now.
As stated above, we’re not done yet. Coming out of the research and development labs into actual products the next step is tactile feedback. This means you will feel where you touched, when you touched it to confirm input.
Apple already has approved patents on this technology. I promise others are following as well.
It’s quite exciting to see touch technology moving from an AC powered computer to portable tablets while improving the user experience. Let’s see where this goes
This is probably the cheapest and fastest way to create your own multitouch table.
- cardboard box
- piece of clear flat sturdy material (glass, plexiglas, …)
- paper (almost any paper)
- webcam or video camera
When fingers are placed on the surface, they create shadows. The webcam records the shadows and the image is sent to the touch software. For this to work room must not be completly dark. The results will be best when the room lighting is even.
Developed by David Wallen, Christian Moore, Laurence Muller and NUIgroup Community. Visit http://sethsandler.com/multitouch/mtmini/ for more information and download the software.
Windows 7 is the first version of Windows to fully support multi-touch features. The interface is much more finger-friendly and so are the included touch screen applications, such as Paint. If you own a multitouch LCD monitor, you probably already have Windows 7 running on your computer. But to fully experience the magic of touch, you will want to install some additional touch screen software.
1. Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7
Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 is a collection of touch screen games and other touch screen software.
The Touch Pack includes:
- Microsoft Blackboard, a physics puzzle game.
- Microsoft Garden Pond, a tranquil game that takes place in serene Japanese water gardens.
- Microsoft Rebound, use your fingertips to control spheres with an electrical field between them to catapult a metal game ball into your opponent’s goal.
- Microsoft Surface Globe, application allowing you to explore the earth as a flat 2-D map or as a 3-D globe.
- Microsoft Surface Collage, explore and interact with your photos and arrange them as a desktop background.
- Microsoft Surface Lagoon, a screen saver and interactive water simulation, complete with playful, shy fish.
The best FREE touch screen software you can find.
2. Corel Digital Studio 2010
Corel Digital Studio 2010 is a multimedia content organizer. Organize, view and edit photos, videos and music in one place using your fingers. In addition to burning them to DVDs or CDs Corel Digital Studio supprots uploading and sharing to Facebook, Flickr and YouTube.
3. Corel Paint it! touch
MS Paint may give you the feel of fingerpainting. But for the true fingerpainting experience there is Corel Paint it! touch. Perfect for parents, kids and anyone who likes doodling and sketching. Corel Paint it! touch has a wide range of gesture support – move, zoom, flick, rotate, tap, drag and scroll—right on screen, using nothing but your fingertips. It also includes plenty of fun features such as realistic mixer pallete – a movable mixer palette, you can use to mix colors. I also supports different types of artistic media (such as oil, acrylic and spray paint) and various paper textures.
4. WinDVD Pro 2010
WinDVD Pro 2010 is the leading DVD player software for high-quality video playback. With fully enabled Windows 7 touch screen support, you can control playback, scene selections and browse media library
And the winner?
Sadly, selection of good touch screen software is still quite poor. BumpTop is no longer available for download and Asus is making their software only bundled with their computers (read the Touch Gate software review). With the exception of a few giants, like Microsoft and Corel, no major companies seem to be interested in developing touch enabled software for the PC…
How to Build Your Own Touch Screen Software
If you want to learn how to develop your very own touch screen applications, either for the iPhone or for the PC, the following quick guide should send you in the right direction.
1. Developing touch screen software for the iPhone
Beginning iPhone 3 Development: Exploring the iPhone SDK is the best book for anyone who wants to start developing for iPhone and iPod touch.
It delivers a clear picture of the entire development process from registering as an iPhone developer through creation of complete applications.
It is written in a fun and easy-to-follow style and you only need a minimal knowledge of Objective-C.
Best practice coding methodology is used throughout the book and there is a huge amount of code samples illustrating each feature of the iPhone.
Beginning iPhone Development is the definitive guide for iPhone development, and anyone aspiring to develop for the iPhone should get this invaluable reference.
2. Developing multi touch screen software for Windows 7 using Visual Studio and C++.
If want to use iPhone like events (pinch, flip, zoom) on Windows, the best place to start is this Windows 7 online training course.
This unit explains the basics of Windows 7 touch screen software and its APIs: Exercise 1: Build a Multitouch Application. A basic knowledge of C++ is required.
Prerequisites (click on the links to download directly from microsoft):
Touch-based interfaces are no longer just a matter of using larger buttons. Since Jeff Han’s demo at the 2006 TED conference and introduction of iPhone, gestural multi-touch software, has spread both on hand-held devices as well as net-books and desktop PC. It’s time for developers to start preparing for the touch screen era.
A fascinating UI experiment for iPad’s touch screen software.
This little girl likes playing with an iPhone, but this was her very first encounter with an iPad. Kids these days don’t know how good they have it.
A great demonstration of the play power of the iPad. And of the power of play.
She displays a very short attention span… I wonder, if this represents a problem with people in general or due to the fact that she’s a kid?
She can almost instinctively operate the thing without even really having to think about it much.
And what an amazing little speller she is!
The spelling apps she uses in the video are FirstWords Animals and FirstWords Vehicles (great games, IF you can figure out how to start them 😉 ).
On the downside, she had the same frustration as many adults, where touching the screen-edge with your thumb while holding the iPad blocks input to all home screen icons.
And she too wonders why it doesn’t have a camera…
Touch screen software was initially used in kiosk systems, POS terminals, ATM’s and on PDA’s.
With raising popularity of smart phones, modern PDA’s, GPS’s and portable game consoles (most notably Nintendo’s DS), the demand for touch screen technologies slowly increased.
Early touch screen displays could only sense a single point of input at a time and only a few of them were capable of detecting the strength of the pressure.
This was changed with Apples ongoing commercialization of the multi-touch technology with iPhone and iPod touch.
Multi-touch allows the user to interact with the screen with fingers, instead of a stylus. The movement of fingers creates gestures, which are then sent to the touch screen software.
Popularity of iPhone, has brought touch screen technology to many smart phones and hand-held devices.
Many companies have upgraded their products, either by adding a multi/touch support to the track-pad or by making their Tablet PC’s interact-able without the stylus.
Some companies specialize in production of large wall-mounted or table surfaces.
Most notable are Microsoft’s Surface and Perceptive Pixel’s Multi-Touch Collaboration Wall.
Both wall mounted and table mounted displays have had a few ergonomic problems.
“Gorilla arm” was a side effect, that destroyed wall mounted touch-screen as a mainstream.
Developers of touch screen systems, failed to notice, that humans are not built to hold their arms high for a long period of time, making small and precise motions at the same time.
Table mounted displays do not share this problem, however, users can develop neck pain after using it for a period of time and their view is obstructed by their arms.
Many modern operating systems include touch screen software, supporting multi-touch as well:
- Windows 7, Vista and XP Tablet PC Edition,
- Google’s Android,
- Palm’s webOS and Xandros
Windows 7 touch screen features:
With a combination of Windows 7 and a touch screen lcd monitor or laptop, you can just shuffle your files and folders, browse the web or flick trough your album, just with your fingers.
Limited one-finger touch screen capability has been available before, but Windows 7 is the first to deliver multi-touch. You can zoom in by placing your fingers on the screen and spread them apart. You can right “click” the file, by placing ane finger on the screen and tapping the screen with the other. Start menu and the taskbar now have bigger, finger-friendly icons.
All the programs included with windows are also touch ready. You can even finger paint in paint, with no additional touch screen software.
Many companies produce specialized touch screen software, either for specific devices or for general computers.
You can expect, from any decent touch screen software, to support multi-touch and gestures. However even more intuitive approaches are being invented all the time. BumpTop desktop, for example, a desktop replacement for Windows and Mac, goes beyond standard gestures such as pan and zoom.
A recent survey performed by Canalys (26. January 2010) shows, there is a significant rise in demand for touch screens computers, for both, users of laptops as well as home desktops.
New hand-held devices are being created all the time and new technologies are emerging.
Touch screen technology has had it’s share of troubles, but it is here to stay.
Blogroll – Cool Sites
- Touch Screen Applications from Corel on
- How to Build Your Own Touch Screen Software on
- How to Build Your Own Touch Screen Software on