Jesse Jarnow


Tonight at dorkbot, I saw NYU’s Jeff Han present on the multi-touch systems he has helped invent. These are touchscreens that expand their input from one finger to, in theory, an infinite amount. In his presentation, Han argued that the one-cursor/one-mouse model that computers have run on for decades is limiting. If he hadn’t insisted that the screens depicted in his videos were real, I would’ve sworn the clips were mock-ups.

Hands roamed a celestial desktop filled with photographs, effortlessly resizing them and sorting them at will; they soared over a GoogleEarth-like mapscape zooming in and tilting with mild finger twitches; they sculpted a virtual face as if it were clay; they danced across a MaxMSP-type environment, attaching sound widgets to oscillators, keyboards, drum machines; they played strange futuristic games; they navigated pure abstractions. I guess it’s kinda that whole virtual reality thing, huh? Whether or not it will ever catch on, it’s straight-up next level.

Here is a short overview video demonstrating the multi-touch project.