Archive for August, 2007

Dell’s new Touchscreen Tablet PC and Multitouch?

August 1, 2007

I’m anxiously waiting for the soon to be released Dell Touchscreen Tablet PC.

Dell’s teaser announcement of the Latitude XT Tablet PC is here.

The two key features are Intel’s ultra-low power dual core Santa Rosa [Centrino Pro] CPU and the Touchscreen.

IMO, Touchscreen on Tablet PC’s are long overdue. Going forward, all new Tablet PC’s will have touchscreens. You can buy a Lenovo Thinkpad X60 and HP Pavillion tx1000z Tablet PC with the touchscreen option today.

The bad news / good news about today’s Touchscreen Tablet PC’s is that they do not provide the cool iphone-like hand gesture multitouch capability. The good news is that for today’s office applications, the pen stylus with an occasional single finger touch works better than the hand gesture multitouch.

Regardless of which interface works better, a hand gesture multitouch capability on the larger screen Tablet PC would be super cool.

My question is "how can I modify the touchscreen device driver to provide hand gesture multitouch?"

As always, there is hidden complexity. Some rough requirements are:
– finger point tracking: ability to track the 10 finger points: N points where 1 < N < 10.
– finger vectoring: determine speed and direction when two fingers are joined together and then moved apart.
– finger locator: cross the fingers and determine where they crossed which one went which direction.

Some further research lead me to this very cool multitouch C++ library.

Thanks to Google Code, you can browse the source code here:

I hope to find some time to experiment with this further.

In any case, if done properly, a hand gesture multitouch tablet PC can bring Surface Computing to the masses.

Some possible apps may be:
– More Natural Newspaper Style Readers similar to the New York Times (XAML) Reader
– Cover flow-like media browsing
– Multi-user Multitouch Drawing tools and games
– 3D Virtual Map Browsing
– Video/Audio Editing
– Data Visualization Apps (e.g., Excel, Tableau, etc.)
– Student Notebook Apps
– E-Learning Apps with Realtime Exams

It’ll be fun to see how this evolves.

In the mean time… When’s that dang Dell Tablet Shipping?…