updated 10:30 am EDT, Fri April 9, 2010
MS Manual Deskterity project appears
Microsoft has quietly shown off a new touchscreen implementation that could potentially close the gap between stylus and finger input. Manual Deskterity uses the same multi-touch technology as Surface but with a special infrared stylus and a custom drawing app that recognizes both fingers and the pen at once. At a virtual work desk, the user could not only pan around with fingers but use them to hold photos and perform a second function with the pen, such as cutting out a segment of an image, copying it or using it as a stencil.
The approach is a Microsoft Research project and won't necessarily translate to finished products. Since many tablets and touchscreen computers already support both finger and touch input, however, Manual Deskterity has a possibility of being added solely through software or of guiding the future design of touchscreen tablets.
The in-development Courier tablet may be a prime candidate as it should support both finger and stylus control, although it hasn't been demonstrated using both input methods at the same time. [via istartedsomething]