Almost three decades after the computer mouse started its triumph with the Apple Macintosh, it is about time for a next generation of Human-Computer-Interaction: Although robust and intuitive, the mouse does not completely reflect the interactions paradigms of the real world.
The challenge remained (almost) the same: Create input devices and software which is (even more) intuitive for first time users. This new generation seems to be found in multi-touch tabletop environments, which provide hands on experience and offer a wider domain of usage scenarios. However, current multi-touch solutions lack in a way of intuitively switching between two important modes: moving the objects and editing their content, i.e., drawing or writing.
DFKI has developed a novel rear-projection tabletop called Touch & Write. It combines infrared technology for the normal touching and moving with the digital pen technology for high resolution handwriting. This allows an intuitive switch between the modes object manipulation, and content editing.
Touch & Write is an innovative new platform for creating applications, that users find natural to use. It seamlessly integrates the paper world into the digital world. Editing, arranging and writing tasks can be easily performed in an intuitive way.
The construction of Touch & Write as a table top environment encourages collaborative settings. Users surround the table, discuss their ideas and work together. Since intuitive handwriting is allowed as an input metaphor, the creativity is furthermore supported.