Thursday, September 4, 2008

Is Apple's Multi-Touch Data Fusion About to Change the World of Input?

Apple, among many other companies, is working on advancing multi-touch input for various products such as OS"s, phones and mpg 3 players, etc. Microsoft has already demonstrated it's intent on adding multi-touch to it's next version of Window, but now, however, a very interesting patent filing from Apple has emerged that suggests that the Cupertino giant is about to add a significant twist to multi-touch - one that would bring it more inline with something straight out of Star Trek than anything that Microsoft is planning to do.

Reports are now coming in that suggests that Apple is planning to mix multi-touch with other input technologies such as voice and visual cues. This means, for example, that if you were drawing a line with your finger, you could easily change or add color by simply speaking, "green, red, blue," or what have you? You could also just as easily add or change the line thickness of an object, or by simply exhibiting a frown on your face, the visual cue would then trigger the computer to recognize that you weren't pleased and then accordingly change the situation! Similarly, a smile would let the computer know that you were please with something and correctly maintain course!

MacNN reports that the September 4 filing would allow it to, "...... gain an advantage thereby increasing the efficiency and performance of inputting operations." This certainly would give it more flexibility and advantage over other's attempts to develop their own brand of multi-touch. It would clearly set Apple as the leader in multi-touch design. The patent application, by the way, is titled "Multi-Touch Data Fusion," which MacNN describes in much further detail if you interested in learning more.

Multi-Touch Data Fusion sounds so very futuristic, so much more like Star Trex than what we are used to seeing, that I simply can't wait for Apple to bring it to market. Hopefully, and my fingers are crossed on this one, we will be seeing this come to market over the next few months. Of course, it could still be years away, but I'm speculating that it probably has something to do with Peter Oppenheimer's recent statement that Apple was about to introduce some compelling new products transitions and ones that none of it's competitor's would be able to match or compete with. Could this latest Apple patent filing be a part of what he was referring to?  Well, I would be surprised, at this point, if it wasn't. 

All-in-all, this latest patent filing suggests that Multi-Touch Fusion is clearly pointing out that some very big changes are coming to the world of high tech input. The notion that one could combine multi-touch gestures with visual and voice cues would, in my mind, totally revolutionize high tech and thus bring science fiction much closer to reality than anything that we have witnessed before. 

Apple has already changed the world by bringing the graphical interface to market, as well as changing the world with the introduction of cheap laser printers, digital cameras, multi-touch, music players and iTunes, etc., but now, with Multi-Touch Data Fusion, Apple may be on the verge of not only changing multi-touch itself, but the entire world of high tech all over again! 

And that's my 2 cents 4 this Thursday, September 04, 2008.

Image: MacNN

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