SIGGRAPH '06: Please touch

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Touch-based interface
As I explained this morning over at MacUser, I'm reporting this week from the SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference in Boston. There's a lot of neat tech on display here, but what makes it more interesting than a lot shows is that there's a focus on what people can do with the tech.

The Emerging Technologies/Art Show and Guerilla Studio sections of SIGGRAPH have quickly become my favorites. Both of these are examples of applying technology for surprising results, and the kind of things they're showing off are often eye-popping. Take for example, Jeff Han from New York University and the multi-touch display system. My colleague at MacUser, Cyrus Farivar, interviewed Han back in March after seeing the same system displayed at O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference. If you've seen Minority Report , you might get an idea of what kind of interface they're shooting for. In truth, it has to be seen to be appreciated, so take a look at the videos on his webpage.

Now, I did actually crash the interface while trying it out (I'm blaming the Windows backend), but Jeff quickly recovered and there was no noticeable ill effect. He was also showing off a similar idea that used water as the medium: computer generated "fish" would scatter when someone splashed it, for example. Cool stuff.

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