May 19, 2008

More Multi-Touch from members of the NUI group!

It is always exciting to see what members of the NUI group are doing!

Here is a new video of a multi-touch creation by some of the members of the NUI group. Although this is a proof-of-concept example, it is fun to see how it is played out, using the little iPhone-like touch-pad widgets as a navigation tool for the large screen.

Read the "Multi-touch Goodness" article in Gizmodo of an interview with Christian Moore about this demo and his Lux open-source framework. (Christian is a colleague of Harry van der Veen, both members of the NUI group.)

Here is an excerpt from the interview:
"JD: Why Flash?
CM: Because it's fast to prototype in. However, the software is broken into several segments. One C++ application that tracks hands that talks to Flash... WPF... or another C++ app... and basically everything you can imagine. You can enable multitouch in any environment, like Cocoa."

High-resolution screen shots and additional information can be found on the nuiman website.

For my tech-minded readers:
I'm pretty sure that the C++ application that track hands and fingers in the video demo uses Touchlib, a library for creating multi-touch interaction. Touchlib can work with TUIO, a protocol for tabletop tangible user interfaces. Applications such as Flash and Processing support TUIO. For more information about TUIO, read
"TUIO: A Protocol for Table-Top Tangible User Interfaces".
(Information from the NUI group website mentions that OpenCV, or Open Computer Vision Library, found on SourceForge, can support blog detection and tracking.)

The people behind TUIO are from the Reactable project, of the Music Technology Group at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona:

Here is my plug for the NUI group, once again!

"The NUI group, or Natural User Interface Group, is an interactive media group researching and creating open source machine sensing techniques to benefit artistic and educational applications.

We offer a collaborative environment for developers that are interested in learning and sharing new HCI (Human Computer Interaction) methods and concepts. This may include topics such as: voice/handwriting/gesture recognition, touch computing, computer vision, and information visualization."

I came across the Harry van der Veen of the NUI group in early 2007 when I was working on touch-screen projects for my HCI and Ubicomp classes, and I'm inspired by all of the creativity I've seen coming from this group.

If you'd like to see more demos, visit the Natural User Interface website, a commercial out-growth of Harry and his colleague's work, where you can view a reel that includes a few touch-screen games. I love the vision statement on this site:

"Technology should enable us to interact with computers, in the same way we interact with the real world; in a way which is natural to us, namely through gestures, expressions, movements, and manipulations. Our vision is to change the way people interact with computers."

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