So real – you can touch it

September 2, 2006

Petros and I have been discussing, on and off the blog, about multi-touch screen interfaces. Whilst tidying my bloglines folders, I spotted that Sam Court from Preloaded had posted the Jeff Han presentation from this years TED show.

Han makes a great point about the upcoming launch of the $100 laptop will continue the adoption of the holy trinity of mouse, keyboard and screen. With possibly the arrival of affordable MULTI touchscreen interfaces, he asks, “why we should be conforming to the hardware when it should be conforming to us.” As Hans demonstrates, the touch screen responds tp pressure, thus making this a rich feedback mechanism, one that captures more emotion than a single key-stoke.

Again, we seeing a closer correlation of sight and touch. Sight is a singular plane recognition, that is, all we can see is surface – something drummed into me by Wendy Smith whilst at KIAD. Being able to communicate through a wide range of pressure oriented gestures, our ability to master the perceptual problems of surface will open up further. This has massive opportunities for peer relations, leaving user-reviews and media-rating seem rather crude. Consider the current concerns of online identity (and theft of) against the tracking of individuals approach to gesture – comparable to the applications of biometrics.

As Individuals, we all learn to have our own approach to communications. As some gestures are learnt through mimicry, some through personal experience; being able to identify someone through their individual approach to communication – such as a laugh or a smile – is reverberated through their body.

But note also – there are no ‘links’ in the multi-touch interface – the whole screen is a link. The hyperlink is very much on it’s way out.

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