Multi-Touch Devices as Conventional Input Devices
In consideration of the rapid development of displays and multitouch technologies, many workspaces could feature integrated multitouch displays in the near future. In order to improve the functionality of such devices, the possibility of using them as input devices for other computers needs to be reviewed. The idea is, to get rid of many different input devices (e.g. keyboard, mouse, multitouch-pad) by using a single multitouch display. Furthermore the display can be used as an additional monitor to show e.g. toolbars, which can be directly manipulated through multitouch gestures.
For example, a soft keyboard on a multitouch display, compared to a standard keyboard, has the advantage of convertibility (e.g. shifting the keyboard language, showing the respective functions directly on the keys, when the ctrl key is pressed).
The research group around Florian Block is doing a similar research, but with a slightly different approach. Their idea is to augment a standard keyboard with displays in the keys and multitouch detection. They also use it as an additional monitor where you can put windows, videos or functional GUI elements, which can be controlled directly by the touch sensors on the keyboard ("Touch-Display Keyboards: Transforming Keyboards into Interactive Surfaces"
). As this approach offers some advantages, especially the haptic feedback, it still has the handicap of only being one input device and the information shown on the keyboard has to be adjusted to fit on the keys.
As the missing haptic feedback on multitouch displays is a heavy downside, there is already research going on to solve this problem. One approach is vibrotactile feedback by using different textures for different regions on the screen (e.g. "Artex: Artificial Textures from Everyday Surfaces for Touchscreens"
by Crossan et.al.). Another solution presented by Jansen is using a soft surface with a smart fluid beneath ("Mudpad: Fluid Haptics for Multitouch Surfaces"
). The viscosity of this fluid can be changed locally by magnetic fields, so that the difference of the relief can be felt on the surface.
The goal of this thesis is the implementation of this idea using the TISCH as multi-touch input device and a windows-based notebook as the main computer. The program should provide different input devices (e.g. keyboard, multitouch-pad) as well as the option to drag&drop standard windows widgets onto the TISCH, which can be controlled by direct touch.