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Windows 7 Touchscreen Details Emerging 152

nandemoari writes "Microsoft has revealed more about Windows 7 and its support for touch screen technology. The system sounds impressive, however, reports suggest it appears to have a high error rate. In an early version of the system, Microsoft found some problems. For example, both the zoom and rotate functions worked less than 75% of the time, often because the computer confused the two. To rectify this, engineers redesigned the system so that it only looks out for gestures specifically relevant to the program being used. This made a significant improvement: the zoom gesture was now recognized 90% of the time. The problem is that even a 90% success rate may be too low. If you can imagine how frustrating it would be if one in ten keystrokes or mouse movements didn't do what you intended, you can see why touch screen technology will need to be even more reliable if it's to truly improve the user experience. PC Authority has a related story about statements from HP, who don't expect such technology to replace keyboards and mice any time soon."
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Windows 7 Touchscreen Details Emerging

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  • Geeze (Score:2, Interesting)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @05:18AM (#27368737)

    You'd think that with that 'big ass table []' they've been so proudly parading around they'd have this figured out.

    I mean, letting everyone think it was a touch screen, when in reality it uses several cameras down below the glass to track motion - you'd hope they'd get it right when it came to something that actually utilized touch...why are we not surprised to learn they've stuffed this up.

  • Best of both worlds? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Max Romantschuk ( 132276 ) <> on Saturday March 28, 2009 @05:27AM (#27368771) Homepage

    I don't think the keyboard+mouse combo needs replacing, for most applications. But I do see immense potential in touch screen tech.

    My "dream desk"? A huge normal monitor, a keyboard+mouse combo, and a horisontal touch screen / tablet beside them.

    Touch manipulation just makes more sense on a horisontal surface to me. Touch wouln't hurt on vertical monitors, but it's not for continuous work. So give me a solution where I can, say doodle a graphic on my touch screen / tablet, lying on my desk, but don't make me give up my keyboard and mouse or hover my arms in the air for that.

    Also, a horisontal touch screen would be an ideal secondary controller for games and stuff... :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 28, 2009 @05:32AM (#27368793)

    1. The hand gesture for input is long as I am doing the gesture on where I typically place my hand and type, which is keyboard, not screen. If I can produce such a gesture on a keyboard for zoom/rotate, I think that's easier to press Ctrl -, Ctrl +...

    2. Screen is for my eye, while Keyboard is for my hand...they just have to be in two different places because how our hands and eyes was grown. Moving the screen on the table - no good. Moving the keyboard to a vertical panel - no good.

    3. I don't like my hand to cover on the thing that I am operating on. My hand is not transparent.

    4. A big multi-touch touchpad as a keyboard is not a really good idea. I owned a Touchstream LP keyboard, which is the exact multitocuh technology that Apple acquires for their iPhone. It support many Gestures and such, but no touch feedback is really a show stopper.

    5. If individual caps of the keyboard can be make to sense the finger position, hence allow multitocuh while still preserve the touch feeling of pushing a key - that will be a killer hardware.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @07:23AM (#27369123)

    The idea for a touch screen wouldn't be to use it in a traditional office environment. You'd be working in a setting where you were near the screen. Once possibility would be to have the screen laying flat and you over it like a work surface. Another might be screens mounted on a wall that you got information from. Still another would be like a tablet PC, but without the need for special stylus.

    It really isn't a "This is going to replace your workstation," sort of thing. I don't think many people in the industry are deluding themselves in to thinking it is a mouse/keyboard replacement, rather it is just another input option. There are situations where mouse/keyboard doesn't work well, and maybe touch screen would be a good choice.

    Like I said once area I could definitely see is wall mounted information displays. You have some big screens that show system status or something. Well, not convenient to have a mouse and keyboard anywhere there. So you've got three options:

    1) No control. The displays show only what they were configured to. You can walk up and look, but you can't request more/different info.
    2) Remote control. You have a station somewhere near by that actually controls the displays. If you want them to change, you need to go to that.
    3) Touchscreen. Just touch the displays to change them.

    I could see a powerful touch screen (as in one with these new features like zoom, rotate and such) being really useful for status readouts. If you see somethign going on, go up and zoom in for a better look and maybe call up more info.

    So not the Next Big Thing(tm) in computers, but a neat addition, if it works well.

  • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @07:24AM (#27369129) Homepage Journal

    I have spent a good part of the last 12 months working with a touch device and I agree with you.

    At the same time though using a small touch screen for notetaking and drawing is practical - I have mine sat within reach most of the time.

    The biggest problem as you say is gorilla arm, my tablet sits in a larger enclosure that lets me rest my wrist whilst still allowing me to write and draw and control what I'm doing.

    I am working up towards creating a touchable wallmounted display and think about it more and more as my UI takes shape, long duration stroking is out of the question, but its practical to have a pokable touch panel as long as the UI allows it.

    heres where I've got so far: []

    regarding the microsoft problem, I have had heated discussions with people about gesture control over the top of standard UI elements and the fact the system and user will be confused by them.
    Android and the iphone both suffer from this mixing up of metaphors and would be better having good clear decisive UI instead of magic wands.

  • by 9Nails ( 634052 ) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @07:29AM (#27369153)

    Sitting here at my desktop, monitor out of arms reach, I can't help but think that Touch is a useless feature. I'm not going to be swayed to Touch as a feature until I can make use of it. Perhaps if I was a notebook user I'd reconsider my enthusiasm. But that said, I think there's a way that they can attract desktop users...

    Some company needs to completely replace the 10-key pad on a desktop keyboard with a touch screen. It should be the same size as the 10-key pad or larger, and feature a 10-key on/off switch. In the 'on' mode, you would use it as a normal 10-key. In the 'off' mode, it would give the user a touch device which could manipulate the images on the monitor. The user might see a selection box on-screen targeting the area of the pad that is available. Touch gestures would allow manipulation of the desktop. Of course a mouse would still be used for most point and click interactions. It probably should use OLED for high angle visibility and should have soft ridges for tactile feedback when you enable 10-key.

  • by therufus ( 677843 ) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @07:30AM (#27369155)

    I've never used such a device but I can see where a computer may become confused. When we touch the screen and move our fingers, we would more than likely change the distance between our fingers unintentionally when rotating in a circle. Maybe the solution is simple.

    When the computer detects that 2 fingers are on the screen, maybe simply displaying a circular template with which the user could follow when rotating, and downing the sensitivity would work. You could just create some kind of shadowing overlay or something. If the user wants to zoom, then just doing the usual 'fingers-closer' or 'fingers-further-apart' would work too.

    I'd like to see touchscreen implemented correctly. There are so many areas where just 'grabbing' something on screen and moving it would be so much more user friendly. Particularly when it comes to people with disabilities.

  • Re:Not convinced (Score:3, Interesting)

    by somersault ( 912633 ) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @07:48AM (#27369219) Homepage Journal

    There are uses for touch in mobile and public devices sure, but why would you stretch over to your screen just to hit "reply to this" on slashdot when you have the mouse right next to you? There is no reason to have a touch screen in any situation where you can conveniently use a mouse or even a touchpad - which is mostly limited to sitting at a desk of course, but that's probably still where the majority of PC based computing is done these days, even with the rise in popularity of laptops. I would probably prefer a touchscreen over one of those little rubbery keyboard nipples though - I'm not a big fan of joysticks for mouse input, despite getting used to it on my PS3.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker