I am on a few quests. I have recently thought that there are 3 areas a lot of people are talking about recently and I need to get on the bandwagon.
Multi-touch: Since the iphone multi-touch has grown massively in my opinion. The idea is relatively simple and something we have been able to do with hardware for a while now; keyboards, DJ mixers and other hardware applications can move more than function/element/parameter as they do not require any thought or processing/memory from a digital computer. This is because a DJ mixer with multiple faders, knobs and buttons alter a analogue current that is effecting a direct analogue signal (in most instances anyway).
Now though, people are creating multi-touch platforms that control digital attributes in computer software. But if we think about it we only ever use 1 point of ‘interaction’ at any one time. Even as I am typing right now I am only pressing one key at a time, when I move the mouse, I am only moving one variable point of contact. And again, unless I have hardware mixer then I can only move one attribute in a software program such as Logic Pro.
So from my ideology multi-touch in a digital environment has had to conquer this ‘one point’ of contact or interaction. And from some basic background reading I believe people have started to crate multi-touch by re-creating hardware interaction. Let me explain: When we press a key on a MIDI keyboard we get various values: Pitch, velocity, note on, note off etc… All this data is sent along a MIDI cable to anything you have plugged into it. You could in a way say this is multi-communication, especially since you can send all this data hundreds of times a second and more importantly more than one key at a time. Therefore, the iphone for examples mimics this by identifying each finger and tracking each one individually; giving us data such as: finger one identified, finger one on, finger one position X, finger one position Y, finger two identified, finger two on, figure two position X and so on… All this data is then sent similar to how MIDI is used.
Some very good finds can be found online such as the MMF work by Mathieu Chamagne. His free Max objects all you to technically create your own multi-touch applications with some D.I.Y weekend assembly. Luckily, even this can be found online, see links below. There are even free, or very cheap applications for the iphone that do all this for you (if you are lucky enough to own an iphone or ipod touch). These include TouchOSC, MrMr etc…
So, multi-touch. I have an idea of what it is. I have some ideas how to do it but have not yet actually done it so I’m going to stop talking the talk and doing the walk. Watch this space.