TechFest 2008: Lucid Touch

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TechFest 2008 got under way this week on the Microsoft campus and one of the most popular booths at the event was Lucid Touch.  Patrick Baudisch with Microsoft research gives us a demo but I'll give you the scoop here as well. 

Touch is a compelling input modality for interactive devices, but touch input on the small screen of a mobile device is problematic because a user’s fingers occlude the desired graphical elements. Lucid Touch is a mobile-device interface that addresses this limitation by enabling a user to control an application by touching the back of the device.

The key to making this usable is what we call pseudo-transparency: By overlaying an image of the user’s hands onto the screen, we create an illusion of the mobile device itself being semitransparent. This pseudo-transparency enables users to acquire targets accurately while not occluding the screen with their fingers and hand. Lucid Touch also supports multitouch input, giving users an ability to operate the device simultaneously with all 10 fingers. We will present initial study results that indicate that many users found touching on the back preferable to touching on the front, because of reduced occlusion, higher precision, and an ability to make multifinger input.



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The Discussion

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    I'd rather see my fingers directly on the screen the behind it. Putting your fingers behind the screen seems too backwards to me, and what about things like onscreen keyboards, doodling, and other stuff that requires you to put things directly 'on' the screen.

    I think there's far other things worth striving for, like Surface.

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