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Input Devices Hardware

Preview of Synaptics's Next Generation Input Devices 54

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the use-the-forcepad-bill dept.
crookedvulture writes "Next year, Synaptics's ForcePad will bring pressure sensitivity to touchpads. It can track five fingers independently, each with up to a kilogram of effective force in precise 15-gram increments. This look at Synaptics' next-gen input tech goes hands-on with with ForcePad, among other new PC inputs. The ultra-slim ThinTouch keyboard, recently acquired through the purchase of Pacinian, combines secretive switches with a side order of capacitive touch. And then there's the latest in touchscreens, the ClearPad Series 4, which purportedly cuts tracking latency by 70%. That's captured on high-speed camera at 240 frames per second."
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Preview of Synaptics's Next Generation Input Devices

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  • by tepples (727027) <`tepples' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday August 20, 2012 @09:30PM (#41063049) Homepage Journal
    To preempt all the pedants: By "kilogram" they probably mean 9.8 newtons, which is the gravitational force exerted on one kilogram at sea level.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      But your Honor! I wasn't applying unreasonable force when I bashed the perp's head with a 10kg dumbbell! I was merely applying unreasonable weight!

    • But they're all going to be used on Earth though.
      • by Pikewake (217555)

        ... and everybody will drop things on the pad to operate it, and that's why gravity or mass is relevant to this discussion. Right?

    • by SharpFang (651121)

      Also, the new touchpad will be very good for power saving, less than 540,000,000 ergs/hour.
      Would you prefer that in horsepower?

    • by negRo_slim (636783) <mils_oRgen@hotmail.com> on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @02:35AM (#41064875)

      To preempt all the pedants: By "kilogram" they probably mean 9.8 newtons, which is the gravitational force exerted on one kilogram at sea level.

      Sensitivity of any metric or value is kind of overshadowed by input delay, the article says it's responsive but so do the iPad commercials. And I have yet to find any kind of touch input that is even close to comparable to using a graphics tablet. Of course slow response is fine for general work UI nav, but we all know how cool it would be to "paint" or whatever with your fingers but this isn't viable with the current response times we are seeing in touch devices. Maybe this one is truly responsive and it certainly could be as it's a track pad. I'd just like to have some solid metrics on it before getting excited.

    • sense the force, i do.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 20, 2012 @09:39PM (#41063127)

    So "click harder" will be a valid solution, now, so that the computer can finally understand urgency. Great!

    • So "click harder" will be a valid solution, now, so that the computer can finally understand urgency.

      How long until someone makes a window manager that allows pressure to control the priority of a window's process?

      • by Gravis Zero (934156) on Monday August 20, 2012 @10:07PM (#41063357)

        So "click harder" will be a valid solution, now, so that the computer can finally understand urgency.

        How long until someone makes a window manager that allows pressure to control the priority of a window's process?

        That sounds terrible. Call the GNOME developers!

        • by greg1104 (461138)

          Even though it's terrible to match their latest design preferences, If one of the users suggests that feature the GNOME developers will never add it.

          • Instead of possible recovery strategies [slashdot.org] we should have pounced on your idea 2 years ago!

            Say a small group of slashdotters sit down and dream up how we want gnome3 to be and listed those features somewhere private. Then, we try to come up with the opposite of those features, and submit them like crazy to the gnome design community [gnome.org].

            Thus, all of the "features" and "changes" we asked for would not get implemented, leaving at least some of the stuff we wanted to be "dreamed up" by the gnome designers, thin

            • by greg1104 (461138)

              Say a small group of slashdotters sit down and dream up how we want gnome3 to be and listed those features somewhere private. Then, we try to come up with the opposite of those featuDX

              But someone have that, the roadmap and goals for GNOME3; this work is accomplished.I think all we really need to do is tell the GNOME developers "job well done, keep doing exactly what you're done already" and that will be enough to redirect the entire project's goals. They won't stand for that.

              • by nullchar (446050)

                I think all we really need to do is tell the GNOME developers "job well done, keep doing exactly what you're done already" and that will be enough to redirect the entire project's goals. They won't stand for that.

                That may work, but if my 2 year old toddler is any indication, reverse psychology only goes so far. Eventually they will accept the praise as legitimate instead of always trying to refute you.

    • by oztiks (921504)

      Ohhhh prior art

      http://techreport.com/gallery/index.x?id=23432&image=59639 [techreport.com]

      I'm sure I've seen those light switches before.

  • by c0lo (1497653) on Monday August 20, 2012 @09:43PM (#41063165)
    ... isn't apt-get good enough?
    • apt-get is good if you already know the name of the package that adds support for a given laptop computer model's pressure-sensitive trackpad, such as if you're following a tutorial. If you're trying to search for a package, on the other hand, you need an interface that makes search easier.
      • If you're trying to search for a package, on the other hand, you need an interface that makes search easier.

        Like apt-cache search ?

        • by cc1984_ (1096355)

          I prefer aptitude search; apt-cache doesn't tell you if the package is installed. A small difference, but enough to have been the deciding factor for me.

        • Like apt-cache search ?

          And how many people who know about apt-get are aware that apt-cache search exists? The advantage of a GUI is that it makes more things discoverable.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      aptitude is better.

      • What happened to aptitude, anyway? I mean, it still exists, but all tutorials have reverted back to mention apt-get and aptitude isn't even installed by default. Or does this apply only for Ubuntu?
    • by c0lo (1497653)
      (I forgot to mark the above with a (grin). If you are taking it seriously, please receive my apologies along with the obligatory whoosh!)
  • by hawguy (1600213) on Monday August 20, 2012 @10:20PM (#41063475)

    The article mentions a touch sensitive space bar:

    In addition to smarter touchpad management, the capacitive sensors can be used for other functions. A concept video suggested that swiping one's fingers across the spacebar could be part of an auto-complete typing scheme. Auto-complete seems entirely unnecessary for a proper keyboard, unless you're a hopeless hunt-and-peck type, but the spacebar does seem ripe for thumb flicks or pinch gestures. I'd love to be able to move the cursor left and right by sliding my thumbs across the spacebar, for example. Switching between applications by waving one's hand left and right over the keyboard would be pretty cool, too.

    Does anyone really think that would work well? I already disable the touchpad on my touchpoint (i.e. little red eraser tipped joystick) keyboard since stray touches on the touchpad cause phantom cursor movements, would a "smart" spacebar be useful?

  • by rossdee (243626) on Monday August 20, 2012 @11:02PM (#41063795)

    Whats that in Midiclorians

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Monday August 20, 2012 @11:55PM (#41064141)
    Sorry but nothing will make me use a touchpad (or a touchscreen for that matter). They can coat it with leprechaun dust and ground up unicorn horns and rub it with Cheetah blood and I'll still beat it 3:1 on speed and practically limitlessness on accuracy with a mouse. If you don't believe me, run a high speed shooting gallery app. I think my record is 9 per second with a mouse. With a touchpad, maybe 1 every 5 seconds. It does have to pop up a target underneath the cursor at some point, lol.
    • by amorsen (7485)

      It takes too long to move the hand off the keyboard to use the mouse. What you gain in precision is only worth it if you are doing multiple clicks in a row without using the keyboard in between.

      • This is why the Model M13 with Trackpoint is the truest of the true keyboards. Not only does it possess the innate superiority of its ultra-clicky brethren, it has a trackpoint that you can access without moving your hands from home row, just by moving your right index finger a centimeter or two from its resting position on 'j'...

        • I own two of them, but the mouse buttons on one are completely nonworking, and the mouse buttons on the other are so flaky I barely even try to use them anymore. The thing is, the buttons NEVER really worked well... they just kind of went from "annoyingly flaky" to "barely-working, or not working at all."

          Can anybody actually fix them in a way that not only fixes my problem, but hopefully fixes it in a way that improves upon the original buttons? I love the keyboards (even though most of my coworkers hate th

    • And I find a graphics tablet to be faster and more accurate than a mouse. What's your point? Touchpads and touchscreens were nevert meant to usurp mice. They're meant to be a more convenient alternative for certain situations.
    • by rossdee (243626)

      "They can coat it with leprechaun dust and ground up unicorn horns and rub it with Cheetah blood and I'll still beat it 3:1 on speed and practically limitlessness on accuracy with a mouse. "

      You can get special cleaning spray and cloths to clean that stuff off your touchscreen.
      (Well I don't know that they have tried it with that combination of ingredients but it cant be much worse that the other gunk that accumulates on a tablet screen

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What's the point? Most OEMs cheap out on licensing the full Synaptic feature set anyway, so you don't get full multi-touch support on that Dell, even though the hardware supports it.

  • ~15 years ago (circa 1996 or so), touchpads emulated the kinetics of thumb-manipulated trackballs, and I didn't mind them too badly. Then, sometime around 1999, all the manufacturers started to de-tune their virtual kinetics to accommodate users who used their index fingers. The difference isn't subtle. Your thumb's range of motion is limited, and the first-gen touchpads used the same algorithms as trackballs to interpret a motion that can loosely be described as "kind of towards the left, somewhat downward

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