Microsoft Research tackles mobile touch-screen problem

Daniel Vogel, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto, and Patrick Baudisch, a scientist at Microsoft Research, have created a technique designed to make it easier to select items on a mobile-phone screen with a finger rather than a pointed stylus. The Microsoft Research project, called Shift, automatically displays a circular image with a small "x" on the screen above where a user places his finger. By toggling the tip of his finger, a user can move the X to place it on top of the item he wants to choose. Lifting the finger from the screen selects the item.

Shift builds on an already developed technology known as Offset Cursor, which displays a cursor just above the spot a user touches on the screen. That allows users to place their fingers below the items they want to choose so that they can see the items rather than hiding them with their fingers. Vogel and Baudisch said Offset Cursor has drawbacks, particularly for users trying to choose an icon near the edge of the screen. Because Offset Cursor displays the cursor above the finger, it can't be used to choose icons at the bottom of the screen. Shift only displays the image when necessary, so if a user touches a large item, Shift doesn't pop up the circular image.

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News source: ComputerWorld

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12 Comments

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I wonder how apple designed their touch screen stuff for the iPhone to get around these problems? MicroHoffs solutions seem clunky.... Apple does seem to be ahead in terms of producing more elegant interface design.

alsheron said,
I wonder how apple designed their touch screen stuff for the iPhone to get around these problems? MicroHoffs solutions seem clunky.... Apple does seem to be ahead in terms of producing more elegant interface design.

clunky? I think its an outstanding solution.

apples interface was designed around LARGE buttons... which virtually eliminates the need for this on their system... but if they had small objects they would have the same problem

alsheron said,
I wonder how apple designed their touch screen stuff for the iPhone to get around these problems? MicroHoffs solutions seem clunky.... Apple does seem to be ahead in terms of producing more elegant interface design.

Um... Apple DOSNT HAVE A TOUCH SCREEN DEVICE RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC YET. They have "nifty" two touch ability in their devices...that's used all of once. But as actual consumers haven't had a chance to get their hands on this yet, we haven't heard of all it's failings.

How Can apple be "ahead" when it dosn't have a product available while microsoft's been in the market (and been an open, able to be developed on, platform btw.) for years.

Pay not attention to the gigantic hype machine behind the curtian

Rolith said,

Um... Apple DOSNT HAVE A TOUCH SCREEN DEVICE RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC YET. They have "nifty" two touch ability in their devices...that's used all of once. But as actual consumers haven't had a chance to get their hands on this yet, we haven't heard of all it's failings.

How Can apple be "ahead" when it dosn't have a product available while microsoft's been in the market (and been an open, able to be developed on, platform btw.) for years.

Pay not attention to the gigantic hype machine behind the curtian


You do realize that this isn't released to the public either. It's research that may never see the light of day and will almost certainly not see the light of day in it's current iteration.

More power to MS Research. They've come up with some really cool things. Unfortunately most of it never goes into production (hardware and software) until it's been watered down and almost useless.

simon360 said,
To state the obvious... Shift?

Neowin fans?

Of course, Neowin bought rights to the word "shift" in the english language.

SimNet said,

Of course, Neowin bought rights to the word "shift" in the english language.


So Neowin also has their own dedicated keyboard keys? Sweet.