A new touch-screen tabletop computer display brings together the unlikely combination of technologies popularized by Apple and Microsoft.
It's called the Scalable Multitouch display, and its touch technology is similar to the iPhone, but it would scale up from handheld device size to dimensions more like those of Microsoft's Surface. The prototype measures just 19 inches right now, but it aspires to cover an entire 50-inch tabletop one day.
The Scalable Multitouch has been in development at Moto Labs in San Francisco for the past two years, and on Tuesday the company released an updated video (below) as a peek of what it's working on.
Like Microsoft's Surface, the Scalable Multitouch display is intended to be used as a group workspace where information on the screen can be manipulated by hand. But Moto Labs CEO Daniell Hebert says what his company is doing is different than Microsoft and others because it does not use cameras or projectors underneath the surface of the display to project images. And by nixing the inner camera/projector, it allows the display to be thin--perhaps some day as thin as the LCD screen you're likely reading this on.
The display instead uses multitouch technology--which means you can use more than one finger as an input device. Moto Labs likes to say that you can use as many fingers to control the device as you want, and that you're only limited by the number of fingers you have on each hand.
The device also employs capacitive touch--same as the iPhone--in which a finger touching a sensor grid (just below the screen) causes a change in signal. That relays exactly where on the screen the finger is. But while the iPhone uses a solid solution known as ITO (indium tin oxide), Moto Labs employs a grid of super-thin wires that pick up on the signals from each finger.
The thin-wire grid is used right now in single-touch displays, but has yet to be used on multitouch, and that's where Moto Labs' work on the inner electronics and the software to take advantage of multitouch comes in. … Read more