Touch yourself better than ever

The Microsoft Research team working on the system formerly known as Skinput are presenting the latest prototype at this week’s UIST 2011. The latest version is now known as OmniTouch and is designed to turn any surface the user desires into an interactive interface. Readers with long memories will recall we first publicised this research in March 2010. Watch the video in the main story.

The research was initially named Skinput, but has since been renamed OmniTouch. It consists of a portable system including a projector and depth-sensing camera.

OmniTouch turns any surface in the user’s environment into a touch interface. OmniTouch: Wearable Multitouch Interaction Everywhere—co-authored by Chris Harrison, a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon University and a former Microsoft Research intern; Benko; and Andy Wilson—is a wearable system that enables graphical, interactive, multitouch input on arbitrary, everyday surfaces.

“We wanted to capitalise on the tremendous surface area the real world provides,” explained Benko, of the Natural Interaction Research group. “The surface area of one hand alone exceeds that of typical smart phones. Tables are an order of magnitude larger than a tablet computer. If we could appropriate these ad hoc surfaces in an on-demand way, we could deliver all of the benefits of mobility while expanding the user’s interactive capability.”

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