Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I have one in my living room right now!

This last week Jon's company, Demand Evolution, announced to the world that they were ready to take orders for their multi-touch screens. They've had an awesome response from people out there in Internet Land and it is truly amazing how easily word is passed by a simple "tweet" or one swift click on the "share this" icon." I think it's been really exciting for Jon after over a year of innovation and very exciting for his partners as well.

So for my readers that don't know what multi-touch technology is (which is presumably all of you) let me break down the two Demand Evolution products so that you can get an idea of what they really do and how they do it.

1. The Gecko:
Unlike when you use an ATM and can only use one action, when you use a multi-touch screen you can grab and move, drag and select items in several places at once. You can enlarge photos by pulling on them and you can type on a keyboard on screen.

There are a few ways of doing this - Demand Evolution uses cameras that watch fingers moving by turning them in to mouse points. Infrared light illuminates the front of the screen so that when fingers touch they reflect light, which the camera is filtered to see. Jon relates what the camera sees to what it looks like when you hold a flashlight up to your fingertips.

The Gecko is a complete 30" LCD screen and has crystal clear resolution.

2. The Kit
The kit is essentially the same as the Gecko, but with a different display method. It is designed to be portable, durable but most of all affordable for developers, musicians or anyone else working with multi-touch technology. It is 50" and requires some assembly and a projector.

As my mom, grandmother, friend or coworker, someone who is not working with multi-touch at all, you might wonder how in the hell you would put one of these to use. How is it practical to use this in your everyday life? The truth is the ways that you will use it are as yet undefined. Jon's products are just the hardware for the next generation of computer interaction. It's up to the software developers to create the best ways to use it.

Of course Demand Evolution will have a few ideas of their own...