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Microsoft is ambitious! It is reported that Microsoft has been working with researchers now for several years to have multitouch on arbitary surfaces. The project has now come out and is reported to be called OmniTouch and involves researchers from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

OmniTouch turns body parts and nearby surfaces into touch interfaces. Users can read and reply to an e-mail by touching their hands or a nearby wall, or even use multiple applications at once on multiple surfaces. The results from a user study “suggest our prototype system approaches the accuracy of conventional, physical touch screens, but on arbitrary, ad hoc surfaces,” the researchers say in a video.

The project is led by former Microsoft Research intern Chris Harrison and Microsoft researchers Hrvoje Benko and Andrew Wilson. In a paper that was published he said, “The surface area of one hand alone exceeds that of typical smart phones. Tables are an order of magnitude larger than a tablet computer.” OmniTouch is a intelligent system developed at the MIT Media Lab, which had students projecting a gestural interface onto the world around them with the help of a device containing a projector, mirror and camera worn around their necks, as well as sensors placed upon their fingers.

OmniTouch, however, requires only a device to be worn on one’s shoulder. The proof-of-concept OmniTouch system consists of a depth-sensing camera and laser-based pico-projector. It is tethered to a desktop computer in its prototype stage and is truly portable.

[ARS]

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