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Displays Input Devices Hardware Technology

18-Foot Multitouch Wall and New Multitouch Tech Hit the Streets 50

Danny writes to tell us that Obscura Digital has launched their largest multitouch wall yet. 18 feet of multitouch surface is divided to allow six simultaneous users, each with their own targeted audio. The massive wall can handle 100 hi-res images and videos together in real-time. Relatedly, Atmel recently announced the release of their "maXTouch" technology, which delivers a capacitive touchscreen that boasts a refresh rate and signal-to-noise ratio that's 66% better than their nearest competitor. Hopefully this means massive multitouch surfaces will be coming into my home sooner rather than later.
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18 Foot Multitouch Wall and New Multitouch Tech Hit the Streets

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  • Adding nothing to the news for years!

  • Using a length to describe an area? Nerd shame on you.
    • by Nadaka ( 224565 )

      especially because they got the dimensions off. Everyone knows that you measure the dimension of a screen as a line across its diagonal.

      This allows all kinds of funky advertising, switching from a 32 inch display to a 34 inch wide screen will actually reduce your viewing area while increasing the amount you have to pay.

      • Except that content is going widescreen as well. When you're watching widescreen material, your "32 inch display" is effectively the size of a 29 inch widescreen. Jumping to a 34 inch widescreen will actually increase your viewing area by a third—more than the diagonal measurement would imply.

        You can use this handy calculator [] to compare screens for yourself.

    • Marketing. An 18' screen is easier to visualize for the general public than a 72 ft^2 one.

  • I like to sit back on the couch with my 92" screen across the room. I'm not going to get up every time I want to do something on my TV, that's what remotes are for.
    • by SilverHatHacker ( 1381259 ) on Friday September 11, 2009 @06:29PM (#29394373)
      A very long stick with a rubber thing on the end may come in handy. Either that or buy a dart gun and just shoot at it.
    • How do you touch the TV? The 18 foot multi-touch screen IS the remote. You should see the TV screen it comes with. It'll give your 92 incher penis envy.
    • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

      I'm still waiting on LCARS-style panels in my home - that can be purchased relatively cheaply - so I can control all of my stuff from a panel. Lights, etc., whatnot.

      I think it wouldn't be terribly difficult. You'd need a touch screen obviously, and you can sell them in standard sizes. Perhaps some kind of wireless schema where it can communicate with more complex appliances like televisions and heating/cooling systems. Ideally though, it would be able to work with even older homes (i.e. how some dimmer swit

  • Can anyone extrapolate screen size to see what year this will happen:

    Frank's 2000" TV []

  • Interface looks cool enough (minus obvious gorilla arm), but the app looks boooooring, like any old web page put on a wall.
  • Need I remind everyone? []

    18 feet of bacterial boogie.

  • How does it look with your favorite gaming system (insert PS3, XB360, Wii, PC) hooked up? Otherwise, whats the point.
  • Call me a troglodyte I don't mind. I remember the first CADAM systems that came out in the 80's that used light pens to select things on the screen. It was exhausting after an hour or so.

    Maybe I don't get it but I think touch and gesture has the same problem: it's tiring after a while. I suppose on small devices and fun things it has it's place but the mouse will never go away for real work.

    Not that I do any real work but if I did I'd use a mouse.

    • Re:Light Pens... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by samkass ( 174571 ) on Friday September 11, 2009 @07:26PM (#29394727) Homepage Journal

      It's true that you're not going to work 40+ hours a week holding your hands up to a wall. But brainstorming sessions and meetings will probably benefit from this. I think multi-touch and large screen interactive displays definitely have a utility, but we're going to have to explore its limitations over the next few years. Like speech recognition, it will probably find niches before it finds widespread acceptance.

    • by Thrip ( 994947 )
      You had me until you said "mouse." Those things aren't just tiring: they're crippling, and yet they're still insanely popular.
  • So do you use the new ATI Eyefinity capable cards and drivers to run it? Curious how this announcement comes out just a couple days after that announcement.
  • Aside from wow-factor displays at the Hard Rock Hotel, what uses come to mind for this technology off hand? It is definitely an achievement...but it would seem that something functional on a smaller scale would be far more practical. It seems to me that fatigue would be an issue if a user used a physical interface on this scale for any real length of time.
  • is it a linux kerenl? apple gui? (i noticed apple HIG familiarities) or some windows shell. or is it something different all together (QNX)
  • Woha... at least it's stable and sure not to fall over.

    What? Read TFA? I haven't even read TFS.

    Yes, I'm not from the USA. Why? ;)

  • Oh my god! (Score:2, Funny)

    by gaderael ( 1081429 )

    "18 Foot Multitouch Wall and New Multitouch Tech Hit the Streets"! I hope no one was crushed underneath!

  • Unfortunately this kind of interface is completely useless except as a gimmick.

    Relevant Comic []
  • by wrmrxxx ( 696969 ) on Friday September 11, 2009 @08:26PM (#29395005)

    Atmel makes some great microcontrollers, but their recent record of delivery is very poor and it has hurt their reputation. In particular, Atmel announced the XMEGA range of AVR micros years ago, but they repeatedly failed to become available: see AvrFreaks [] for just one of many discussions on the topic. A limit subset of the range is just becoming readily purchaseable now.

    There are various theories about why Atmel has had such delays in producing the XMEGAs: upper management turmoil, the distraction of a takeover attempt by Microchip, the change to being fab-less, and serious bugs in the early XMEGA production efforts.

    I hope I'm wrong, but I wouldn't be too surprised if these new chips aren't physically available for a long time.

    • by winavr ( 793523 )
      The main reason why chips are late getting out to the masses is that top-level customers soak up all the supply for a while. It's not because of all the drama that you mention.
  • Well, it's not the size that matters... Right?
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday September 11, 2009 @09:45PM (#29395251) Homepage

    OK. So they build this really big projection touchscreen. And then they divide it into sections because they don't have an application that can use it effectively.

    That indicates a failure of imagination. But it's really just a PR device for the Hard Rock location in Vegas. It's not something anyone uses regularly. So its interface has to be trivial.

    What could you usefully do with a touchscreen that big usable simultaneously by multiple people? Intelligence analysis? Maybe. But there's an inherent bias in something like that towards short-attention span behavior, which may not be a good thing in analysis. Trading platform? Might work; those guys already have too many screens. But they don't move their windows around much; they have many screens because they need their data to be in expected places. Architecture? Look at, yes; show to clients, yes, actually design, no. That's more likely to be one guy with a modest size touchscreen driving a wall-sized display.

    I could see this as a management tool for a MMORPG, where the staff is trying to run a world, but the consequences of errors are low.

    • by Cerium ( 948827 )

      How about retail stores? You could apply it basically anywhere to give customers a good way to look up products based on some criteria and/or point them in the direction of the product(s) they want. Also, think about any kind of store where the products have a high degree of customization. Clothing stores would be an amazing demonstration of this technology almost exactly as it is in the demo. Drag some clothes around to make outfits on the screen rather than spending nine years waiting for your goddamn gir

    • by beckett ( 27524 )

      Laboratories, museums, schools, libraries, web cafes, fast food outlets, movie kiosks, airport check-in, interactive art displays, elevators, bathroom stalls (with sanitiser), phone booths, subways or anything that needs large numbers of temporary computers in one spot?

      Once the price of these start to creep down, something like this could be generic, ubiquitous hardware for all manners of information, transaction, and advertising. it could occupy any empty, flat space, and it's way cooler than that sm

  • "Hopefully this means massive multitouch surfaces will be coming into my home sooner rather than later"

    Really? You don't think maybe that's put the power requirements of the household to like 10x normal? Actually let's make that 20x in the summer since cooling down a house with giant displays with walls would take a ridiculously powerful AC system.
  • 18 feet? How many liters of area is that?

The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.