N-trig brings multi-touch to the large(er) screen


You probably recognize N-trig, the folks behind the multi-touch solution in the Dell Latitude XT Tablet PC. Well, they’re not literally behind it because if they were you’d never get a thing done with your notebook, right? Today, they’ve announced their DuoSense magic for larger displays and even have the above YouTube video demonstration.As much as folks understandably “ooh” and “aah” over these types of demos, I still don’t see any major consumer adoption of this tech in the near future. Multi-touch applications make much more sense (to me anyway) on a small screen, not on a large display. There’d have to be a major paradigm shift in the home to have table or flat-lying displays to make use of this. Ergonomically, it wouldn’t make sense for an implementation on a physical display standing in front of you like today’s desktop and notebook monitors. For now, I’ll offer the “ooh” and “aah”, but I won’t be pining to see this in my environment. Now if I were a graphic designer or the like I might have a different opinion. How about you?



I would love a large multi-touch display… something about the size of my desk. I work in mindmanager and even though my dual 22″ widescreens are INVALUABLE for manipulating my information within and between maps, the more space the better. Bring on multitouch computing and bring it on fast!

I’m also with Mr. Crash on its application to sound desks. Firstly, the major disadvantage for me would be not having the tactile feel for the faders under my fingers when I was mixing. I don’t necessarily look at the faders when I go to use them; often I just know where they are and I’m not sure I could do this on a desk that doesn’t provide physical feedback. However, if that can be overcome the benefits would be huge! One of my mates regularly uses a new digital console set up for HDTV broadcasting. One of the side-effects of HDTV is that the Video-tape machines can have around 14 different audio outputs. That’s right, there are 14 audio output channels from each of their SIX VT machines. Try putting that somewhere useful on your digital desk. After you’ve taken those into account, the controls for groups, the outputs to air, separate VT machines, studio foldback, comms systems, presenter ear-pieces etc etc etc their 32 channel digital desk capable of up to 900 separate inputs has just 8 faders available on the top layer for controlling mics in the studio. That’s freakin’ ridiculous! A large multitouch surface would let you expand and contract the visuals for a vastly greater number of faders, let you see a much greater number of levels over more channels and give you faster access to channels when you need it and considering the potential phasing issues that can occur in multichannel audio systems, the more control you can get the better.

One more thing. I just decided NOT to order a 20″ 1600×1200 touch screen LCD for work. I wanted to use it as the interface for a new sound effects computer that would let me display and have instant access to 120 different sound effects at once. The show I use it for is a kids show and sound effects can let you do anything you like off-camera and bring stuff on camera to life. This new machine was to replace my current one that is stretched to breaking point with only 50 keys (therefore 50 sound effects) available at any one time.
Why didn’t I order it? Because when you think you might want an impromptu sound effect you watch the TV screen, not the sound effect machine. The result is that you put your fingers on the potential keys you may want to hit. If I was going to use a touch-screen my fingers would have to not be touching the keys and that makes it far to easy to hit the wrong key when the right moment comes. It’s not practical.

Finally, I love my iPhone! Touch-screens rock and not being able to use it to TXT people when I’m driving is probably a feature over other mobile phones.

Mr. Crash

Jazz Mutant does this (and has for quite some time) with stuff designed for musical instruments… A couple of artists that use their gear are Bjork and Daft Punk.

Pricey stuff but a massive step up from the korg kaoss pad, which is put to similar application by other people.

That’s where my ideal application of this technology is. Music.

I’ve also seen the jazz mutant displays used to control lighting at a venue too.

I think most applications are associated with interfaces where you’d use both hands simultaneously. On a desktop/laptop the only place this happens is keyboard/mouse – which is arguably more efficient, definitely cheaper and more familiar.

On something like a lighting or sound desk, being able to pack both these interfaces in together is actually (in some though not all) situations rather useful.


i would say that multi touch makes much more sense on a large screen. say a drawing table size surface perhaps, with a on-screen keyboard that allow full touch typing?

a small screen do not have the surface area to really make use of more then maybe 2-3 points of contact.


I am more intersted in someone leveraging their stylus support and creating a challenger (aka lower priced) to the Cintiq. Once in a Cintiq (shall we call it an n-Tiq?!), I could also see my using the touch capabilities to click on things. One cool application might be in something like lightroom, where you could sit with your n-Tiq and slide pictures around as you review and sort them. Imagine extending this to a review of pictures with a client as well. Cool.


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