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View Full Version : Hack your Macbook to get multitouch comp




digitalpencil
Feb 29, 2008, 09:27 AM
I wouldn't normally post links to competitions but I thought this one was quite interesting and the results could hopefully become beneficial to all of us.

CrunchGear are challenging anyone to make a pre-Penryn MacBook trackpad gesture-based & if your the first they'll give you an iPod Touch.
It can be software or hardware based but they have specified that they'd prefer it if MBP owners did not submit their MBP hack as it would be too easy to fake.

Don't know if there are any adept coders in MR but thought this would be of interest to those of us with pre-Penryn machines who are looking for multi-touch.

For more info:
http://www.crunchgear.com/2008/02/28/why-doesnt-the-macbook-pro-have-the-airs-trackpad-win-an-ipod-touch/



johnnyjibbs
Feb 29, 2008, 09:36 AM
I haven't read the link yet, but I thought the multi-touch required a special trackpad/chip and therefore cannot be emulated in software???!! :confused::eek:

future macnerd
Feb 29, 2008, 10:49 AM
I haven't read the link yet, but I thought the multi-touch required a special trackpad/chip and therefore cannot be emulated in software???!! :confused::eek:

I would think we have all the hardware we need, as it already recognized the two touch scrolling..... but I'm not really an expert in those fields.

ayeying
Feb 29, 2008, 11:14 AM
im pretty sure you can make the gesture. but actually making it into multi-touch, its highly doubtful. I believe there is a seperate chip that controls the multi-touch feature, similar to the one used in the iPhone, if not the same.

digitalpencil
Feb 29, 2008, 11:30 AM
I haven't read the link yet, but I thought the multi-touch required a special trackpad/chip and therefore cannot be emulated in software???!! :confused::eek:

According to iFixit's teardown of the MBA, it has a Broadcom BCM5974 controller on the interconnect board. The same multitouch controller chip present in iPhone/iPod Touch. http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/08/02/01/macbook_air_internals_revealed_in_tear_down_photos.html

I've only seen one teardown for the new Penryn MBP however, which doesn't mention whether this chip is present or not and there are no shots of the interconnect board.
http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=3240

Whether this chip is present or not in the MBP will determine whether or not this functionality has been expanded to the MBP via software or hardware.
The way i figured it was that if it was present, it would be included in the teardown inventory and although i've heard odd people saying it's there (random thread replies) i've found no sourceable claims so figure that this is generally speculation. One other thing i have heard from user reviews is that the MBP's multi-touch isn't as robust as the MBA's and that this isn't necessarily due to the smaller trackpad. Which, would perhaps suggest software emulation.

It's all neither here nor there, however CruchGear have opened up this challenge to both software/hardware solutions so hopefully we will see some varying experiments. Perhaps some driver replacements ala iScroll2 which brought two-finger scrolling to older iBook/PB owners and some hardware hacks with the BRCM chip integrated into the current Macbook hardware or bridged on a custom express34 card for an MBP.

Regardless, hopefully this experiment will result in a multi-touch hack for older MB/MBPs. We shall see. :D

JP89Hornet
Nov 6, 2008, 11:51 AM
I have the previous generation MBP 15" the one right before they started adding the multi touch feature. My computer recognizes when there are three fingers on the track pad and when I try to zoom (pinch) in and out. The problem is that there is no setting in the control panel so when I do these gestures nothing happens, but it definitely can tell the difference. So I believe it could be enabled with a software mod.

Any updates???