Future Tech: See-Through Gadgets

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Five years ago, Patrick Baudisch, a scientist at Microsoft Research who was studying human-computer interaction, started having trouble seeing what he was typing on his cell phone keypad.  Some of us would have just bought a phone with bigger buttons, but Baudisch decided to reinvent handheld devices instead. The technology he created called LucidTouch is a digital way to make handheld devices appear transparent. Unlike today's handhelds, LucidTouch devices allow you to use all ten fingers while using two touchscreens - one on the front and one on the back. On the front, you would use your thumbs, and on the back, your fingers. On the screen of the device, you would see your fingers (well, digital facsimiles of your fingers) touching, tapping, and typing on the back of the device. The devices, when ready to go to market, would also have multipoint selection which would let you pinch, zoom, and drag icons on the screen with many fingers all at once. (You may think that sounds familiar, but the iPhone is actually limited to two-finger touching.) How long before you can hold your own LucidTouch device? Industry observers say five years, that is, if people can get used to it. The technology would be used in mobile phones, portable games, and even wristwatches. (Via Portfolio.com)

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