I’ve been messing around with multitouch quite a bit in the last week. Hopefully this post will help others not beat their head against the wall trying to find answers to simple questions! So below (and in some coming posts) – I will divulge all that I’ve learned…
What you need to do multi-touch, right now…
Currently, there are exactly 3 consumer computer devices that support multi-touch:
- HP TouchSmart TX2Z tablet notebook
- HP TouchSmart IQ series all-in-one desktop
- Dell Latitude XT or XT2 laptop
Although this isn’t written down anywhere, Anson Tsao at PDC08 said that TouchSmarts only support 2 fingers – and the Dell supports many more. I want to dedicate a whole post to my thoughts on this TouchSmart, so more on that later!
In this case, I’m using Windows 7 beta (build 7000). Now for that, I need to use the beta drivers for the TouchSmart HID interface – the actual touch surface. Those are available here: http://www.nextwindow.com/windriver/index.html
And that’s it. That should give me native multi-touch functionality via the hardware and OS. So now what? What can you do with it? Well – there are a million videos on YouTube that show people using Google Earth, so why not start there? Well, I’ll spoil it for you – it doesn’t work that way out of the box. If you want that kind of functionality, you have to use NASA World Wind, a far-worse version of Google Earth. Or, you can use the Google Earth API and write your own gesture-aware version of Google Earth.
With Google Earth, the "pinch" gestures translate to "rotate" and the "rotate" gestures don’t do anything. On World Wind, move and pinch work – but for a "move" gesture, you have to hold your finger down for like a half-second, first.
Is there something that DOES work? Yes! The photo viewer that comes with Windows 7 (looks the same as the one from Vista).
Perhaps my main frustration so far as that there are a lot of cool videos and presentations out there, but when I try to bring this into reality – there is very, very little available for the regular person. I have much more to report about the WPF angle of touch-aware development, that I’ll talk about in future days. Meanwhile, I made a quick video to show how the configuration above, REALLY works in the real world:
I have far more to say on this topic – so more to come in the following days!