Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Technology

Microsoft's "Pseudo-Transparent" and Fold-Up PCs 94

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the feel-free-to-send-me-one dept.
waderoush writes "At the CHI 2009 conference, which wrapped up yesterday in Boston, Microsoft researchers showed off two radical prototypes that push the boundaries of user interfaces. One was a 'pseudo-transparent' iPhone-like device called nanoTouch, which has a trackpad on the back rather than a traditional touch screen and gives visual feedback in the form of a simulated image of the user's finger (the effect is like looking straight through the device). The other was a folding dual-screen device called Codex that can switch automatically between landscape, portrait, collaborative, or competitive modes depending on its 'posture' or orientation. If Microsoft doesn't build such devices itself, 'somebody else will, so it's really important to understand what the issues are,' said researcher Ken Hinckley."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft's "Pseudo-Transparent" and Fold-Up PCs

Comments Filter:
  • The nanoTouch is designed to be held by the edges in one hand while you operate the trackpad with the index finger of your other hand. The cleverest touch, so to speak, is that the device uses "pseudotransparency" to provide visual feedback--basically, the "cursor" is a life-size picture of a finger that tracks with the position of your actual finger, as if you were looking through the device with X-ray glasses.

    I'm sure that will be hugely useful on a bus or train as I'm attempting to hold on to the railing with one hand, and use my device with the other. (I won't even mention usage in cars, because you're not supposed to be doing that. :-P)

    Dear Microsoft, allow me to introduce you to the flaw in your scheme. Or should I say, two flaws?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposable_thumbs#Importance [wikipedia.org]

    NEXT!

    Codex consists of a pair of OQO mini-tablet PCs, each with a 3-inch-by-5-inch screen, mounted in a hinged device with built-in sensors that can detect how the hinges are oriented. The sensors are important because Hinckley's whole concept is that a dual-screen device should be able to switch configurations on the fly depending on what "posture" it's in.

    So it's a Nintendo DS with accelerometers? It's not that the idea is completely without merit, but I'm not sure how much it really pushes the envelope. And the example they gave of two people working across the table "battleship style" would not be something the unit could configure "reflexively" with its sensors as it cannot distinguish "tablet PC on table" from "book on table" from "battleship" modes. The user would still need to tell it what to do.

    If Microsoft doesn't build such devices itself, 'somebody else will'

    Well, I can guarantee that Microsoft won't build the devices. Innovation has never been their strong suit. Their usual M.O. is to wait until someone else demonstrates a good concept, then throw a ton of resources at making a better version. Once all competition is eliminated, the software or device stagnates. (No new ideas are being generated.)

    Hinckley's comments strike me more as Microsoft trying to be prepared for anything new Apple might throw at them. A possibly reaction of sorts to the number of times they've been caught with their pants down. Except the problem is that these ideas seem kind of random with no clear focus on where they might be going. In result, Microsoft is going to miss the boat again when a competitor (not necessarily Apple) introduces Yet Another(TM) great advancement in interface technology.

    Personally, I see a lot more promise in technologies like Siftables [organic.com]. Emerging new interface schemes that will be a core part of the next generation of user interfaces. The final product will probably look a lot different from the units we see today (much like touch screens evolved until we got devices like iPhones and DSes), but the core concept will be what drives the next generation.

    Meanwhile, Microsoft is spending their time contemplating their collective navels. "Oh hey, look! Touchscreens and accelerometers are becoming industry standard! Those must be the next generation of technology!" No, that's what we call *THIS* generation.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:26PM (#27534431)

      If this had an apple logo on it you'd be standing in line to buy one.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by causality (777677)

        If this had an apple logo on it you'd be standing in line to buy one.

        It's not very kind of you to assume he must be a mindless Apple fanboy because he offers constructive criticism. That is, I've seen no positive sign that this must be true of him and that there are no alternative explanations for why he feels the way he does. Despite that, the "Apple vs. Microsoft" tone of your comment did make me think of something.

        This is actually innovative, in that it's something new despite the summary comment that "if we didn't build this, someone else will." So here we have an

        • I think his response was more of an "open letter" to gadget fetishists rather than a specific reply to his parent.

          "Apple vs. Microsoft" are your words, not his. Surface is innovative. These toys are not so innovative and I predict that they will be as well-received and successful as the Zunem, should they make it to mass-production.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by David Gerard (12369)

            Microsoft launched Surface, its tabletop computer system, in the UK yesterday [today.com].

            People will use the touchscreen computer "the same way they have interacted with everyday items their entire lives," said Philippa Snare of Microsoft UK, "with hands and with gestures." Instead of a keyboard or mouse, the techno-table uses a 30-inch touch-sensitive screen that also reacts to objects placed on it. Photos are automatically downloaded from cameras or phones. A spilt cup of coffee causes the "I'm a PC" guy to appear

          • Neither this nor the surface are innovative.

            *nix people had been making these surface devices for years before Microsoft even started development on them. And don't think they thought of this one either, I was a prototype (home made) of something just like this on hackaday over a YEAR ago!

            All they've done (once again) is taken someone else's idea and thrown money at it.

            Microsoft is NOT innovative, they have never been and probably never will be. Not only are their products usually YEARS behind othe
            • *nix people had been making these surface devices for years before Microsoft even started development on them.

              [citation needed]

              • The technology behind Surface is called multi-touch and has at least a 25-year history,[7] beginning in 1982, with pioneering work being done at the University of Toronto (multi-touch tablets) and Bell Labs (multi-touch screens). The product idea for Surface was initially conceptualized in 2001 by Steven Bathiche of Microsoft Hardware and Andy Wilson of Microsoft Research.[8]

                First paragraph. [wikipedia.org]

                That puts the technology at having existed for 19 years before M$ got their hands on it!

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @03:17PM (#27535109)

          It's not very kind of you to assume he must be a mindless Apple fanboy because he offers constructive criticism.

          It doesn't mean he's an Apple fanboy, it's that he's clearly an anti-Microsoft fanboy. The "Microsoft is never innovative and always copies somebody else" argument is a slashdot catechism which literally means he'd be happier if it came from another company (maybe not any other company, but another company). Apple is the only other company he explicitly called out by name as being innovative (he also mentioned Siftables, which I might humbly suggest are also difficult to operate one-handed on a subway in its current form). Then he creates a strawman assertion attributed to Microsoft and snarks at it. It's entirely laid out before us that he'd be happier with it being Apple than Microsoft. Which is fine, but there's no pretending it isn't happening.

          Aside from that, it is a little ridiculous that Microsoft won't produce these because Microsoft isn't innovative seems to imply that these things...made by Microsoft...are innovative. The innovation already happened here, and thus the problem is bugfixes/polish, mass-producing, and marketing these things; or there is no innovation, in which case Microsoft shouldn't have a problem producing them. It's self-contradictory, or at least missing a step -- maybe it's really that Microsoft is innovative but is too risk-averse to give the go-ahead to innovative products.

          The other criticisms are of varying quality -- one-handed subway use is fair criticism, the opposable thumbs one might be valid but I think it's worth investigating whether it just presupposes some things about UI design from experience with touch UI designed for thumbs, but the DS with accelerometers argument is a red herring because it's missing the obvious hinge sensors (which the article explicitly mentions).

          That's not at all to say that I think these things are going to come to pass. I worry about whether it's really more intuitive to touch something from behind than to just pull out a pen (which is definitely less fun than direct-touch), especially with a simulated finger that may not behave quite like my own and very probably doesn't look much like my fingers. And as for the dual-screen thing, I just don't think that's the optimal direction to go in. I mean, the collaborative/competitive aspect could be cool, but I'd hope the direction we steer would allow two independent devices to operate kind of like that. I guess what I'm saying is I'd like it to work more like the Siftables the GP mentioned. See, I'm not completely down on him :).

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) *

        If this had an apple logo on it you'd be standing in line to buy one.

        An interesting troll, Mr. AC. (Who's apparently now a terrorist [slashdot.org]! :-P) Unfortunately, one that has made its way into the public consciousness.

        Allow me to pose a question to you: If Apple is built entirely on hype rather than substance, then how did they manage to convert so many former Apple haters to their cause?

        Maybe, just maybe Apple has earned support from the market by making superior products. Not everyone likes their products (true o

      • by Phoghat (1288088)
        (http://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/japanfan/ad59/)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I'm not sure what point you were trying to making linking the the Wikipedia article on thumbs. This technology allows for a PDA that can be used without a stylus and without your thumb getting in the way of the screen. I think this is great, as I often miss the button I intended to hit when using my thumb rather than the stylus on my smartphone. I am somewhat disinclined to believe that an index finger is dextrous enough to cover the whole screen of a typical modern PDA, though.

      As for Codex, it's not a D

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) *

        I'm not sure what point you were trying to making linking the the Wikipedia article on thumbs.

        Circle back to the previous paragraph where I mentioned the problems of using this device with one hand. Opposable thumbs allow humans to manipulate small keyboards and touchscreens efficiently with one hand while the device sits firmly in the palm. Which is an important aspect of small device operation.

        The nanoTouch requires a less secure hold. One that would make one-handed operation difficult and may lead to the

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          You didn't make your point very clear in your first paragraph - it sounded like you were just saying "using this thing one-handed is going to be a pain in the ass and I think people will drop it all the time", which is something that happens frequently with PDAs in those environments today (mostly because people are holding onto railings/poles with their elbow and attempting to use the PDA with the stylus). Now that I know that your issue with it is that you think it will be harder to hold onto, thus makin

          • Actually, allowing (but not forcing) a pointer controlled with a small trackball like is used on Blackberries might solve the "hard to use one handed because thumbs are wide" issue just as well and without requiring a looser grip on the device.

            Very interesting idea! I agree that could be a very useful combination.

            However, it does raise one question: Is screen blocking enough of an issue to users where they feel they need an alternative method of input? My gut says 'no'. Which raises the further question of

            • by mjeffers (61490)

              By moving the interaction with your finger to the back they can get a much smaller device or allow for controls where you might not want to have controls blocked by fingers because of the application.

              I've tried a couple of video games for the iPod touch. A few of the racing games I've played have this problem, you put controls on the screen and you all of a sudden have me playing in landscape mode with both thumbs on top of the device but I've covered both the corners of the screen and the buttons I'm tryin

            • I'm still working this over in my mind ...

              The problem with fingering the backside (:-/ Can't think of any really polite way to put that.) is that the index finger will mess up the gripping forces of the other fingers as it ranges around the device.

              A trackball on the center of the back would avoid the ranging problem, although you then lose the ability to jump from one place on the screen to another. (My imagination is now telling me this is going to end up feeling like those stupid nipple-in-keyboard pointe

    • Huh, first you pick apart their technology (rightly or wrongly) and then say "I can guarantee that Microsoft won't build the devices. Innovation has never been their strong suit." If I believe your assessment of the technology then they definitely would build them as they aren't innovative at all. So, which is it then?
    • I took a look at that video, and while nifty, I could see no practical purpose beyond a child's toy for those, and an incredibly expensive one at that. There's no way, with existing manufacturing efficiencies and raw material costs, you could get those down to under $100 per block - way too pricey for any toddler who's just going to kill it. Get them below $10 a block and they become a viable toy. Those will take off if and only if somebody figures out how to make money using them, not just occupying the

    • Of course they don't plan on building it... This is just setting up some of the groundwork for the eventual i/p lawsuits which will happen once somebody actually does start building it.
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      I'm sure that will be hugely useful on a bus or train as I'm attempting to hold on to the railing with one hand, and use my device with the other.

      So, your complaint about this device is that you can't perform multi-touch commands with one hand while holding the device with the same hand.

      You know, at first I thought he was being unfair, but I'm starting to think the AC below is right. If it had an Apple logo, you'd pee yourself like my dog when I scratch his belly. But because you don't like the company th

      • So, your complaint about this device is that you can't perform multi-touch commands with one hand while holding the device with the same hand.

        The way you're using that word? I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • by elefantstn (195873) on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:05PM (#27534203)

    One was a 'pseudo-transparent' iPhone-like device called nanoTouch, which has a trackpad on the back rather than a traditional touch screen and gives visual feedback in the form of a simulated image of the user's finger (the effect is like looking straight through the device). The other was a folding dual-screen device called Codex that can switch automatically between landscape, portrait, collaborative, or competitive modes depending on its 'posture' or orientation.

    The other was not called 'Codex,' but rather 'shuffleClassic.'

  • nanoTouch! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Fast Thick Pants (1081517) <fastthickpants.gmail@com> on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:06PM (#27534207)

    Sounds like an improvement over last years' disaster, the Microsoft PowerbookNewton.

    (Actually looks pretty damn cool.)

  • noitavonnI (Score:4, Funny)

    by Chardish (529780) <chardish&gmail,com> on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:06PM (#27534215) Homepage

    !tfosorciM ,sknahT !evitiutni yletelpmoc eb ot gniog si ecived eht fo edisrednu eht gnihcuoT

  • Hmmmmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by reidiq (1434945) on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:08PM (#27534229)
    This is Microsoft's version of a 'Reach around'
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by causality (777677)

      This is Microsoft's version of a 'Reach around'

      While doing what they so often do to their customers, that's the least they can do!

  • Link to vid (Score:3, Interesting)

    by religious freak (1005821) on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:09PM (#27534241)
    Here's the vid [google.com] so you don't have to search for it. (Wish folks would link to a vid in TFS).

    Looks like Microsoft is actually starting to get serious about research, but I still don't know if this is all that compelling to be a breakthrough worth the effort of such a large corporation - they should be working on something bigger like Google or Apple, and coming out with major innovations every year or two (my opinion)

    But, I suppose it's a start. Best of luck to them, I think innovation is great and every company should do more of it.
    • Re:Link to vid (Score:5, Informative)

      by EvanED (569694) <evaned@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:21PM (#27534371)

      Looks like Microsoft is actually starting to get serious about research...

      "Starting to"? MSR is one of the biggest single contributors to CS research out there, and has been for a long time.

      (Note that MSR is almost entirely distinct from what I typically call MS Corporate, which would include things like product research. Sometimes there will be something that moves from MSR to Corporate, like the SLAM work moving into the Static Driver Verifier, but MSR is still quite autonomous.)

      • Very true. But while the concept products that Microsoft Research demos at these shows are the products of the future, judging from their track record they always will be. It just like with concept cars: they're the coolest things you've ever seen, and if they were on the market for a reasonable price they'd atomize every competitor. But they never, ever come to market. (Unless I'm mistaken and some of you "Jon Andertons" are typing comments on your living room Microsoft Surface units ...)
        • by EvanED (569694)

          This is true; from a "does MSR's stuff see the market" point of view, they aren't great. But this is the same with research in general... how much CS research from even the top universities see the light of day in terms of products?

          I mean, definitely some does, but not a whole lot. And what does usually takes a LONG time to show up.

        • by Zerth (26112)

          Why pay 5 figures for a microsoft surface when you can just make one with an eyetoy camera, a sheet of plexiglass, a projector, and an IR filter?

      • but what, exactly do they contribute?

        From my point of view, what they contribute is mostly experimenting with and implementing stuff that smarter people have already seen the problems in and set aside.

        Exploring blind alleys is not a bad thing, if they could only resist the temptation to try to present them as potential products instead of as demonstrations of why the market should do something else.

        And if they could only resist the temptation to actually turn some of their blind-alleys into products, or int

        • by EvanED (569694)

          but what, exactly do they contribute?

          A fair amount of ground-breaking research. The SLAM project and followup work is what I'm most familiar with, because my own area is in program analysis. It would be fair to call this particular project the first actually workable software model checker. It laid the groundwork for another important project from Berkeley, BLAST, and some followup work from MSR Bangalore, Yogi.

          I mean, looking at the PLDI '09 schedule, there are 6 papers co-authored by someone from MSR. Onl

          • Okay, I guess I'll do it for you.

            SLAM [microsoft.com]

            BLAST [mtc.epfl.ch]

            yogi [google.com]

            pldi [google.com]

            popl [google.com]

            Well, Microsoft researchers are involved, to some extent, in some research that is, well, extending some old stuff in ways that might be new. Groundbreaking, maybe, to some people.

            Maybe these tools will help generate "correct" code for some definition of correctness. But have these guys defended their choice of definition of "correctness"? Have they shown how it applies to the real world? Is the application field a niche field, or will it help with OSses

            • by EvanED (569694)

              Maybe these tools will help generate "correct" code for some definition of correctness. But have these guys defended their choice of definition of "correctness"?

              A little bit. There are two bits of how they would need to justify it: is it guaranteed to make sense, and how complete/useful it is.

              The first bit is easy: the sorts of things they check for are the sorts of things that cause program or system crashes, or other clear failures. A null pointer dereference is almost always an error. Trying to lock an a

              • by reiisi (1211052)

                So, groundbreaking in some minor ways, but really just a continuing in the same efforts at formal proofs which have been going on for thirty or forty years now.

                Perhaps they are groundbreaking in that they can be applied to MSWindows 7, whereas the previous methods were more taylored to previous MS OSses (or to other OSses).

                Yes, you understand the fundamental problem in proof. If we can prove the program's correctness, we can program it correctly, but we still (after all these years) don't know how to define

                • by EvanED (569694)

                  So, groundbreaking in some minor ways, but really just a continuing in the same efforts at formal proofs which have been going on for thirty or forty years now.

                  All research continues something that came before. "If I have seen further than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants" and all that. If you want to argue about the meaning of groundbreaking, whatever, but it's as groundbreaking as anything in software formal methods in the last couple decades.

                  Perhaps they are groundbreaking in

      • by Sir Holo (531007)

        "Starting to"? MSR is one of the biggest single contributors to CS research out there, and has been for a long time.

        This is called "sucking the air out of the room," and is one of Microsoft's main strategies. They keep as many CS profs on their dole as possible, so that there are fewer who dare criticize MS.

        This is what they did for their US antitrust case - they hired tons of law firms for little bits of work, especially any with antitrust experience, so that conflict-of-interest rules prevented them from working for the government on the antitrust case.

        This is what they did with shelf-space -they bought up (or ren

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by causality (777677)

      Here's the vid [google.com] so you don't have to search for it. (Wish folks would link to a vid in TFS). Looks like Microsoft is actually starting to get serious about research, but I still don't know if this is all that compelling to be a breakthrough worth the effort of such a large corporation - they should be working on something bigger like Google or Apple, and coming out with major innovations every year or two (my opinion) But, I suppose it's a start. Best of luck to them, I think innovation is great and every company should do more of it.

      I'm deliberately speaking in very general terms here. Incremental improvements are also a good thing, and in fact I would expect large behemoth corporations to try to "play it safe" by doing it this way instead of trying too many radically new things that might be a complete flop. It's really the smaller, more "nimble" corporations that seem to be more willing to go for the breakthroughs and radically new ideas, even though for them the success of such things can mean the difference between liquidity and

      • by reiisi (1211052)

        I don't think I can really agree.

        The fact that big companies can't be nimble seems to me to be the primary reason big companies should not exist. Or, if they must exist, they should not have research departments pretending to work on leading edge.

        The research I would like to see from Microsoft would be actual introspection. There actually is stuff _in_ their products that could be usefully extracted and used, outside of their products, if you could only find it, if you could only use it without using MSOffi

        • by causality (777677)
          Well, there IS a reason why I have been using Linux for over 11 years and have no Microsoft software on my own computer. That's because I don't like doing things the Microsoft way and I especially don't like the lack of freedom as compared to a GPL solution. Like I said, I don't like Microsoft and I have plenty of good reasons for why I feel that way. Your comment about not allowing companies to get that large was also interesting. The only problem is that I can't think of a cure for that which isn't al
          • The constitution and the law specified a cure that went about as far as we dare.

            The courts dropped the ball.

            This idea that a judge who admits in public to having a personal opinion should automatically be recused is stupid. They have opinions. Admitting the opinion is better than hiding it. The issue is whether the opinion is biasing, and, in this case, even though the opinion was strong, it was not out of keeping with the facts presented.

            I'm almost unwilling to assume that money did not exchange hands, or

    • by Ironica (124657)

      Here's the vid [google.com] so you don't have to search for it. (Wish folks would link to a vid in TFS).

      Ironic that your link to a vid "so we don't have to search for it" is just a search output, where the product under discussion here is the very bottom link (everything before it is about the iPod Nano and iPod Touch). Oh, and that link isn't actually a video, just a static image.

      Next time, just go for the humor value and use Let me Google That For You [lmgtfy.com], ok? (Hey, first hit is about the actual device, how about that!)

      • by EvanED (569694)

        Link works for me.

      • If you think the link:

        video.google.com/videosearch?oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=nanotouch&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wv#oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wv&q=nano+touch

        is an image, you need to retake your browser 101 class dude.

        • by Ironica (124657)

          If you think the link:

          video.google.com/videosearch?oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=nanotouch&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wv#oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wv&q=nano+touch

          is an image, you need to retake your browser 101 class dude.

          If you think that naming a subdomain "video" automatically means moving pictures, I can't help you there.

          FTR, this [boondock.org] is what I get from clicking on the above link. See the address bar in the screen cap if you're still confused. Glad it works for some people, but clearly not compatible with Chrome 1.0.154.53 on WinXP Pro SP3.

    • by Jason Earl (1894)

      Microsoft Research is a big contributor to CS research. However, Microsoft as a company has a very strong aversion to actually producing its own hardware. With the expensive XBox fiascos and the less than stellar Zune it is easy to see why. So research that doesn't involve making a bog standard PC cooler simply doesn't see the light of day.

      Microsoft's modus operandi when it comes to experimental devices is to do a prototype and then hope that someone else will actually engineer, build, develop, and mar

  • But does it run SnowLeopard?
  • nanoTouch? Seriously?

    • by KBlommel (1165263)

      They're seriously copying Apple with that name. All they've done is combined two iPod names and BAM, the nanoTouch is born!

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If apple insists on using basic words like nano and Touch in their product names can we let it go when they come up in other company product names? iPod is distinct enough but Touch? That's a verb. Let's face it the company is named after a fruit. You can't Trademark the name of a fruit. I'm just tired of everytime anything that comes out that looks vaguely similar to an apple product or has a similar name everyone always claims they are copying Apple. not everything revolves around them even if they would

      • by abundance (888783)

        They're seriously copying Apple with that name.

        well they're honest about not hiding their sources...

        http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/07/05/10/apple_filing_reveals_multi_sided_ipod_with_touch_screen_interface.html [appleinsider.com]

  • Patents (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If Microsoft doesn't build such devices itself, 'somebody else will, so it's really important to understand what the issues are,'

    In other words, even if they don't have the inclination to develop products in this area, they'd like a slice of the pie if someone tries to later.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The clear screen of death.

  • by mpapet (761907)

    Microsoft has a long history of aggressively promoting some scheme and then watching it fail and screwing the OEM's all at the same time.

    Tablet PC's come to mind as a very expensive failure for OEM's. Another failure, PlaysForSure was a not-so-recent major FU to hardware manufacturers, branding businesses.

    Why, when they've been repeatedly burned by Microsoft, will they invest in these non-new failures?

  • "...If Microsoft doesn't build such devices itself, somebody else will, so it's really important to understand what the issues are"

    Is it just me, or are vendors lately simply trying to outgeek each other rather than look for actual purpose and usage discovered through market research? Not every handheld device out there needs to behave like a Wii controller "just because".

    • Is it just me, or are vendors lately simply trying to outgeek each other rather than look for actual purpose and usage discovered through market research?

      "Lately"? I don't recall it ever being any different. See: Sturgeon's Law. ;-)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    13 years ago Ratio Design Labs built a Motorola M.A.X. tech demo that used a back-facing touchpad for a pager interface. The only thing MS added is a finger instead of the pointer indicator.

    • by LMacG (118321)

      So what you're saying is that Microsoft is giving us the finger?

  • It would be friggin' weird for a well-built black dude to show some interesting animation on his Zune Nano-Touch 3 as it follows a polished pink fingernail. Maybe this will have presets, and show up as an option in the Control Panel, with some very hard to answer questions like "on a scale from Michael Jackson to Jabba the Hut, how much of an Asian woman's manicure would you say you possess?"
  • ...interface where user points "behind" the display.
    http://www.google.com/patents?id=ELsKAAAAEBAJ&dq=behind+nokia+user [google.com]

  • Maybe here [macrumors.com]?
    Or here [macrumors.com]?

  • by Samah (729132)

    If Microsoft doesn't build such devices itself, 'somebody else will, so it's really important to patent the idea now,'

    There, fixed that for you, Microsoft.

  • Why look at my finger when I can buy a $200 gadget that shows me a simulated finger when I touch the back. And sure I might want to look at my but why carry around a piece of glass when aforementioned tech' is available.

    Sorry it's just such an easy target. Why have transparency when you can have simulated transparency?

"The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults." -- Peter De Vries

Working...