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+ - Why Did Touch Take Four Decades to Catch On? 1

Submitted by
theodp
theodp writes "You probably saw media coverage of Bill Gates showing off touch-screen technology to his CEO play group last week. With the introduction of the iPhone and iPod Touch, touch (and multi-touch) technology — which folks like Ray Ozzie enjoyed as undergrads way back in the early '70s — has finally gone mainstream. The only question is: Why did it take four decades for its overnight success? Some suggest the expiration of significant patents filed during '70s and '80s may have had something to do with it — anything else?"
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Why Did Touch Take Four Decades to Catch On?

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  • My first experience with 'touch' was about 1979, when I was an 'Industrial Electronics' technician. We were to evaluate the possibility of using touch screens in a factory environment. This was a dirty, hot, gritty, greasy environment, where keyboard failures were the order of the day. 'Touch' terminals seemed like a way to bypass the keyboard problem.

    We set up three terminals in a training room, and brought worker bees in at intervals to observe how well they adapted to 'touch'. Within two hours every term

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. - W. K. Clifford, British philosopher, circa 1876

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