Update (4/27/09) from Thomas Hansen, a member of NUI Group, who attended IDC:
"..It was certainly an interesting event. I got to talk (albeit briefly) to both Andy Wilson and Jeff Han. Both of whom produce very inspiring and world class UI/HCI research on a consistent basis. Further, it was a great honor to meet some of the other members of the nuigroup community in person, some of whom where inspiring not only because of their amazing intellect and artistic talents, but especially due to their friendliness, benevolence, and maturity."
Here are a few excerpts from people who were fortunate to attend and then write about the experience:
Putting our arms around the future of touch Ina Fried , CNET 4/23/09
"..if you used one of the interactive displays here to show a heat map of this industry, it would glow red hot. That's because touch displays, for years relegated to kiosks and industrial uses, are quickly becoming mainstream. Hewlett-Packard and Dell already have touch-capable machines, while Microsoft is set to make gesture input standard with Windows 7...For his own part, Han said he was inspired by seeing a PBS documentary in the early 1980s that showed Microsoft researcher Bill Buxton, then at the University of Toronto, using multitouch to compose music on a computer. The computer itself was a green screen with an ancient processor and little memory, but the key underlying concept was already there..
"Sometimes it takes that long for these things to marinate and gestate," Han said....And while things are now taking off, Han urged the crowd not to forsake quality in the rush to take advantage of a hot market. "That will ruin it and mess it up for all of us, and that would be a real shame," Han said."Interactive Displays Conference Highlights Kevin Arthur, Touch Usability 4/22/09
"...He (Jeff Han) showed a great clip from an early 80s TV show called Bits and Bytes that featured a young Bill Buxton demonstrating some of his tablet work at the University of Toronto...Jeff Han's point in showing this clip was not just to share what inspired him as a kid to pursue computer science as a career. He also wanted to make the point that none of this stuff is really new. He urged the audience not to jump on whatever tech is cool this week, but to be aware of the history and to do the research. Be thoughtful and careful about what you're making. He said one of his fears with the multitouch craze is that the waters will be poisoned by bad and poorly conceived implementations. He said "don't add noise" to the ecosystem by using terms sloppily -- like "multitouch"...
The importance of being more thoughtful and mindful of prior work are not exactly new to most of us with design, HCI, or CS backgrounds, but the audience here is largely made up of marketing or other business types, I believe, who sometimes tend to get a bit carried away, you might say. I mean no disrespect to my friends in marketing..."Interactive Displays Conference San Jose Harry van der Veen, 4/25/09
" Big thumbs up for Pira tech for managing to get so many multi-touch industry professionals (Wacom, Mindstorm, NextWindow, 3M, Jeff Han (Perceptive Pixel), LG, Tyco Electronics, Stantum and more) and hobbyists together."