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Elantech's Multitouch Trackpad

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
That's about the only use I've been able to think of for a multitouch trackpad (unless you count the scrolling and modifier functions that PowerBooks/MacBooks have long had).

Someone should tell him to try his thumb and finger--like you would do with a real object. He tries every way of getting two contacts BUT that :)
 

SirusB1

macrumors newbie
Jul 28, 2007
18
2
Seems clunky and unresponsive. Very unimpressive.
IMO, not much usability potential, it's more of a gimmick.
 

TitoC

macrumors 6502
Jun 15, 2007
311
26
It also seems to be a waste of real estate space. The whole front area only has the trackpad only taking up about 4 by 4 inches of space. Why didn't they make the trackpad larger? Not well thought out it seems . . .
 

distortedloop

macrumors 6502
Jun 29, 2007
366
3
Hmmm.... Apple's got to have a patent on that kind of thing. I smell a lawsuit coming on; or at least a threatening letter from Cupertino lawyers.
 

Popeye206

macrumors 68040
Sep 6, 2007
3,148
836
NE PA USA
I hope Apple is better than this!

I really hope Apple's version of multitouch is not a lame as this! But, I must agree with another persons comment... what else would you use it for? Maybe that's what I want to see... more examples of why I need this and why its going to save me time???? Again, maybe Steve will be able to answer these questions with uses we have yet t think about?
 

Popeye206

macrumors 68040
Sep 6, 2007
3,148
836
NE PA USA
It also seems to be a waste of real estate space. The whole front area only has the trackpad only taking up about 4 by 4 inches of space. Why didn't they make the trackpad larger? Not well thought out it seems . . .

I know someone else here on the forum did a mock up of a laptop with a widely expanded track pad as their take on the multitouch trackpad... I think this is not good because your hands will rest on it and before you know it, unintended touches are going to be taken as real touches and you'll be zooming and panning all over the place while you type! I can see it now!

Michael
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,936
4,788
mmm...

while kind of cool...

I think having a multitouch screen is much better. Touch screens can make it feel like you're actually touching it... but the touch pads fill about as much like touching things onscreen as a keyboard fills like using a pencil.
 

Mac OS X Ocelot

macrumors 6502a
Sep 7, 2005
603
0
Looks clumsy and inefficient, like all trackpads. Ditch the trackpad idea. Use touchscreen. Just for mouse features. Keep the keyboard.
 

shadowfax

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
5,849
0
Houston, TX
I know someone else here on the forum did a mock up of a laptop with a widely expanded track pad as their take on the multitouch trackpad... I think this is not good because your hands will rest on it and before you know it, unintended touches are going to be taken as real touches and you'll be zooming and panning all over the place while you type! I can see it now!

Michael

That depends. If your multitouch sensor is fine-grained enough, it will be able to easily detect the difference between a palm touch and a finger touch. That will be the important thing for a touch pad to have if it's going to be super-wide. I think they'll be able to make it work. Again, needs a higher-resolution than a lot of trackpads likely have.
 

shadowfax

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
5,849
0
Houston, TX
Looks clumsy and inefficient, like all trackpads. Ditch the trackpad idea. Use touchscreen. Just for mouse features. Keep the keyboard.

that's annoying, though. with a touch screen, you lose a TON of precision, not to mention that you have to pick your arm up and move it all over the screen. I thought for a long time that a touch screen with a keyboard would be nice, but I've realized that it's just as bad or worse from a usability perspective than a good quality touchpad.
 

zombitronic

macrumors 65816
Feb 9, 2007
1,115
6
I really hope Apple's version of multitouch is not a lame as this! But, I must agree with another persons comment... what else would you use it for?

After using your iPhone for awhile and then going back to your desktop/laptop, do you ever instinctively double-click on a paragraph or image on a webpage in an attempt to zoom in to it? I do. While not exactly "Multi-Touch" and more of an OS feature (like the Beryl zoom-in feature) than a touchpad function, I could see this as a useful addition. Double-tap the touchpad to zoom. In this case, however, double-tapping couldn't be used as double-clicking.
 

shamino

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
3,403
206
Purcellville, VA
Seems clunky and unresponsive. Very unimpressive.
It seems clear to me that they're only really demonstrating the hardware. Their image-manipulation application appears to be what's klunky, and it ruins the experience. It only supports 90-degree rotations. APIs for full rotation of images has been in operating systems for over 10 years. They should be using it.

Personally, I fail to see the utility of a multi-touch trackpad. The kinds of direct-manipulation operations that you would want multi-touch for seem to really demand a touch-sensitive display surface (like an iPhone, or a tablet computer, or Microsoft's surface.)

Think about it this way - if you put many fingers on a pad, can you accurately position them on the objects you're trying to manipulate? Unless the OS is going to put multiple pointers on the screen, I don't think you'll be able to get anything close to accurate positioning.
 

Popeye206

macrumors 68040
Sep 6, 2007
3,148
836
NE PA USA
My Take....

Why does a multi-touch pad need to be a pad? What if it was another screen like the iPhone and it would change depending on what application is on screen? Then you could have quick navigation buttons appear, or specialized macros that would allow you to do things with just one tap of the finger.

This thought came to me after watching this demo... so I mocked it up really quickly ( I know... not the best art, but I spent no time on it)... maybe this is what Apple will do???? :D
 

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Digital Skunk

macrumors 604
Dec 23, 2006
7,972
622
In my imagination
That video is cute. Show me some professional uses for that and i am sold. So far the only use I found for multi-touch trackpads are the elimination of the big button at the bottom, and maybe being an interface for using Front Row without booting up Mac OS X all the way. Other than that the examples I have seen and heard along with the mockups are just garbage.

See:
MultiMac.jpg

p.s. No offense to your art... it's just that the concept is a little off.
 

distortedloop

macrumors 6502
Jun 29, 2007
366
3
Looks clumsy and inefficient, like all trackpads. Ditch the trackpad idea. Use touchscreen. Just for mouse features. Keep the keyboard.

I agree that on most laptops the touchpad is less than optimal experience, but have you tried a MacBook Pro's? From my perspective it's perfectly sized and I much prefer it over a mouse or thumb ball. Maybe I'm just used to it, but it works great for me.

This trackpad already has a small level of multi-touch (two finger vs one finger inputs).

I think if anyone can make a multitouch gesture type of trackpad work, it will be Apple, but I'm just a big fan boy.
 

Popeye206

macrumors 68040
Sep 6, 2007
3,148
836
NE PA USA
p.s. No offense to your art... it's just that the concept is a little o[/SIZE][/I]ff.
:eek:

No offense taken! In my opinion, multi-touch for a track pad (which is what I keep seeing - even in this video) just does not make sense to me unless there is something dynamic about it. So we can eliminate one big button, zoom and rotate... Ho-hum! That's why I thought making it a screen would allow more functionality and customization. But the cost would be up there I'm sure! :D
 

SthrnCmfrtr

macrumors 6502
Aug 20, 2007
310
0
Las Vegas, NV
I'm convinced that multitouch trackpads are a good idea, but I'm not convinced they're a big selling point. The ones in the MacBooks and MacBook Pro have a sort of multitouch, and if that were merely enhanced slightly we'd have the things like rotation and zooming -- the things that computer users can find fairly useful, I think, but generally don't use daily unless they're pro.

The future of computing, I am convinced, is going to stick with the keyboard and trackpad for a long time. The touchscreen, for most applications, is not much of an improvement.

I envision the distant future being a bit like Star Trek: The Next Generation -- they do simple things through voice communications. Database queries ("Computer, are there any inhabited planets in the Analingus system?"), media control ("Computer, play 'Echoes' by Pink Floyd. Louder. Louder. A little softer."), and similar functions are all performed through vocal commands.

Real work, though, is still done at a terminal. To be sure, they have futuristic equivalents of Wacom tablets, but when any sophisticated task is required, Data and La Forge are there typing, typing, typing. The keyboards are specialized, admittedly, but still keyboards. Touchscreen technology (direct manual manipulation of the object) is used, but not for real work -- more for presentations, demonstrations, hypothetical screwing around.

This is good tech, to be sure, but what Apple should be working on more is unifying applications at a low level -- making their functions available to the OS and other applications in an easier way. AppleScript, then Automator have been great leaps in this direction, although still relatively opaque and difficult to configure on-the-fly.

I imagine a day when I'll walk up to my computer and say "Computer, what books do I own that involve psychological disorders?" and the computer will respond "twenty-three." And I can say "How many of those have been made into movies which are in my library?" and the computer will respond "three." These are simple database queries that almost any n00b with a copy of iTunes and a suitable Library app or LibraryThing can accomplish, but they are largely out of the reach of vocal commands.

We have gotten so caught up in the visual capabilities of computers that we tend to forget they can communicate (and rather well) in audio. There is an enormous capacity for progress in that area, despite the large and ever-present problems with vocal recognition, text-to-speech, etc.
 

dukishdary

macrumors newbie
Jun 25, 2007
17
0
screen orientation...

that's annoying, though. with a touch screen, you lose a TON of precision, not to mention that you have to pick your arm up and move it all over the screen. I thought for a long time that a touch screen with a keyboard would be nice, but I've realized that it's just as bad or worse from a usability perspective than a good quality touchpad.

couldn't agree more. but going even further with this idea, i think we are getting close to eliminating the mouse and keyboard altogether. i mean, how tedious and tiring would it be to reach across your keyboard to carry out a task? i have a feeling screen orientation is going to be changing pretty soon from looking across at them to looking down at them. if we are going to soon be incorporating touch technologies, our hands will have to rest near the screen of course. it just makes sense. jeff han's touch screen demo says it all imho (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKh1Rv0PlOQ). i believe desktop computers will soon adopt this orientation or at least something like it once touch screens go mainstream. it's a lot more intuitive i think, wouldn't you agree?
 

Macula

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2006
431
18
All over the place
I multi-touch pad is undoubtedly a great idea, especially if it is large enough to cover almost the entire wrist pad area.

There is a technical difficulty, however, and Apple will not release any such product until the difficulty is solved:

Such a touchpad would have to be able to distinguish intentional gestures from accidental ones. People cannot you a touch pad with two fingers on it and the other three up in the air. Doing so would eventually cause tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome! My theory is that multi-touch will come to laptops when it can process at least 3 (or preferably 4) finger gestures at the same time. This would allow the hand to remain relaxed and comfortable on the input area. Of course, then the operating system will have to filter this input and filter out those fingers which seem to be unrelated with the task at hand.

Not easy, but probably possible.
 

Digital Skunk

macrumors 604
Dec 23, 2006
7,972
622
In my imagination
:eek:

No offense taken! In my opinion, multi-touch for a track pad (which is what I keep seeing - even in this video) just does not make sense to me unless there is something dynamic about it. So we can eliminate one big button, zoom and rotate... Ho-hum! That's why I thought making it a screen would allow more functionality and customization. But the cost would be up there I'm sure! :D

And that is all that I am seeing.... the ho-hum stuff. Making it a screen is a bit far fetched in my opinion... unless it can be used to navigate Front Row without booting Mac OS X, that's the only reason I could see having it as a screen.

Displaying buttons on it to be used as shortcuts would be a good idea as well, but if done I hope they make the trackpad larger, so I can use the original (and Mac only) large trackpad width of the MacBook, and the sides could be the multi-touch buttons.

The video was lame. I couldn't even use that rotate feature since most images taken from digital cameras come rotated already if taken in portrait orientation. One thing that may cut the cost down is taking out the color for the MT trackpad........ I guess.

Until Apple actually does put MT in a laptop's trackpad... I honestly couldn't see what usefulness it has.
 

t0mat0

macrumors 603
Aug 29, 2006
5,452
279
Home
Just a preview of what Apple had maybe a year ago

Reading the article on the iPhone at Wired - apparently they were working on a tablet at the conception of the iPhone.

I'd say this is weak in comparison with what Microsoft Mobile 7 and Apple will bring out. Have you guys been checking out the CES videos?

They've shown - 3d depth sensing whole body gesture analysis and use for dog fights, racing driving games, moving around the OS, (search for zcam) Think Wii without the remote, Minority Report without the gloves.

There's a month old or so video of a hack of a Wii remote that makes a TV into a pseudo 3D screen.

The iPhone was only the start of interfaces beyond mouse and keyboard. Leopard has been built around this concept - and Bill Gates in his farewell speech said as much about Microsoft. Pinch will seem tame in a week.

If you do one thing, check out
engadget.com/2008/01/08/forget-about-the-mouse-use-your-hands-with-the-zcam-from-3dv/

http://www.3dvsystems.com/technology/product.html#1

engadget.com/2007/12/21/diy-head-tracker-takes-wiimote-hacking-to-dizzying-new-heights/

Don't forget we're probably going to see a new media hub to rival the Xbox 260/ old Apple TV, and a high likelihood of innovative new Cinema Displays. Why stop multi-touch at the iPhone? It could easily cross over to other lines. I'd imagine you'd only need one tick box to activate it or unactivate it. If it's simple to learn, and useful, it'll spread quickly, and convert you.
 

hotsauce

macrumors 6502a
Sep 7, 2005
662
90
Wirelessly posted (Apple Communication Device: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/3B48b Safari/419.3)

Popeye206 said:
It also seems to be a waste of real estate space. The whole front area only has the trackpad only taking up about 4 by 4 inches of space. Why didn't they make the trackpad larger? Not well thought out it seems . . .

I know someone else here on the forum did a mock up of a laptop with a widely expanded track pad as their take on the multitouch trackpad... I think this is not good because your hands will rest on it and before you know it, unintended touches are going to be taken as real touches and you'll be zooming and panning all over the place while you type! I can see it now!

Michael

You should tell Steve about this quick before tuesday. I'm sure they haven't thought of this yet.
 
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