November 11, 2009 – Although multi-touch is a hot-button technology, and demand for it is growing, the quest for the “killer app” that will make it really take off has yet to be achieved. So says Francois Jeanneau, North American director of sales & business development for Bordeaux, France-based Stantum (www.stantum.com), a pioneer developer of multi-touch technology.
Speaking at the recent Emerging Display Technologies Conference in San Jose, Calif., Jeanneau told his audience of product planners, designers, and third-party integrators that finding the killer app is important and laid out guidelines the industry must follow in order to progress beyond the early stage of multi-touch product introductions, especially in the PC space.
“Drawing with multiple fingers is cool, and so is manipulating multiple videos on one screen, but are those applications really useful?” Jeanneau asked. “A good example of a killer app might be a note application that supports handwriting recognition, where you can draw or highlight directly on the text, an interactive menu, and a sub-menu that can be activated on the side of the display.”
He noted that the buzz around multi-touch is creating a lot of momentum in the software development community and said that he expects innovative software engineers and marketers will design applications that change how users interact with machines in ways that most people find hard to imagine today.
“It’s like that with any innovative new technology,” said Jeanneau. “When the Internet was first launched, who expected something like Twitter would come along and change the way we interact with our social networks? This is how it will be with multi-touch when the killer app appears.”
He stressed, however, that not all multi-touch technologies are equal, adding that the user experience from one technology to the other can be very different. More importantly, not all implementations within one multi-touch technology subcategory – e.g., capacitive or resistive – are equal.
“A product designer can’t put a specific technology in a box and make some generalization, such as resistive multi-touch has poor optical performance, or capacitive multi-touch can only do two touches. It is critical to dive into the details of a particular solution’s implementation, and the quality of the implementation is crucial, no matter what technology is used.”
As an example, Jeanneau cited Stantum’s patented multi-touch technology, which has already been implemented in solutions with superior optical performance, extremely low activation force, and best-in-class responsiveness – one of the most critical aspects of usability, and the one most likely to enable the killer app that finally emerges.
To promote this emergence, Stantum’s multi-touch technology works with fingers, fingernails and styli; provides fast response, with precision, consistency and low jitter; consumes little power; is supported by any operating system; and lends itself to simple, flexible manufacturing.
Jeanneau told attendees that the consumer electronics, music, industrial, scientific, automotive, medical, and retail markets could all leverage Stantum technology, with applications in smartphones, gaming consoles, PCs, mobile Internet devices, portable multimedia players, navigation devices, point-of-sales equipment, and many other types of products.
Stantum has been the pioneering company in multi-touch display technology since 2002, and in 2005 was the first company to market commercial products using a truly reliable multi-touch user interface. Today, Stantum’s patented and breakthrough multi-touch technology portfolio is available under license of IP bricks (IP core, firmware and software) and associated engineering and design services.
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