On the 12th floor of 719 Broadway, two projectors blazed satellite images of New York City behind him. Han fixed his two index fingers together and placed them on the map. Throwing his hands apart like a conductor, the image seamlessly zoomed in on NYU's campus. He placed two fingers on the left side of the screen, then with his other hand, rotated the axis so that he could get a better view into the buildings' windows.
'There's no manual,' said Han, a consulting research scientist in NYU's computer science department. 'It's natural. You just reach out and do it.'
Touch screens are about to enter the next generation, thanks to Han's work. He has contributed to the multi-touch screen, a technology that has so far been rarely utilized, yet is now attracting attention from Apple and the makers of its new iPhone.
Touch screens have long been a staple of consumer life, from the ATM to the movie theater. But those screens can only take input from one finger at a time.
The screens Han works with can register as many fingers as one can fit on its surface area - all the fingers of the human hand, or those of 20 co-workers. A touch pen, bottle or any other object works just as well.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007