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3/7/2006
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Pressure-Sensitive Multitouch Screen Shown At ETech

A multitouch system that reportedly "will change the way people interact with computers" was demonstrated at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology conference.

At the O'Reilly Emerging Technology (ETech) conference in San Diego Tuesday, Jeff Han, a consulting research scientist at New York University's Department of Computer Science, demonstrated a multi-touch system that he insists "will change the way people interact with computers."

The pressure-sensitive device enables a user to draw, resize and move still and video images on a touch screen with more than one finger simultaneously. It allows users to resize and move the images to the side of the tablet with touch, creating an infinite amount of space on the desktop to work.

On a small drafting-size tablet suspended on a stand, Han demonstrated the multi-touch sensor system, altering the axis points of two-dimensional and three-dimensional images to rotate and resize instantly.

Multi-touch isn't a new concept, but this approach allowed Han to merge objects and pull them apart, motions that single-point interaction do not allow. The sensor works as an optical laser with a flat fiber optic," he said. "And if you inject light into the system, and have something that interferes, you can get the light to scatter up."

The screen also displays video. Han projected more than 186 channels of Time Warner cable, simultaneously, all in motion. An ability to zoon in and out quickly allowed him to explore news ways to move the photos and use the information.

The popular Emerging Technology conference attracted some 1,200 registered attendees, up from 800 last year.

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