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N-Trig shows off new gesture controls, two-handed screen operation



Got a tip in the forum that N-Trig is showing off a new system of multi-touch gestures exclusively through LAPTOP Magazine. Very impressive stuff, though some of us are sure to take it with a grain of salt.

The two minute demo video runs through some exciting zoom, scroll, and select features. A lot of it is two-handed for operation on a desk or other surface. Appears to be an overlay type of system, where your commands are interpreted by an application before being passed on to the underlying application. I especially like how the cursors show up as rings around your fingertips, as opposed to a tiny cursor under your fingertip. If you need to keep the cursors (and you know Windows is still cursor-driven), that’s the way to do it.

I am somewhat less impressed with LAPTOP’s knowledge on the subject. The author admits early on they were skeptical about touch computing and subsequently proven wrong, which is cool. Nothing wrong with that. I just don’t think it’s necessary to prove in the very next paragraph that you haven’t been paying close attention to the tech.

Ntrig isn’t the first to offer four-fingered multitouch as the Lenovo ThinkPad  T400s and T410s with touch support using four fingers at once.

You may apply your palm to your face now. For those who don’t get it, read this. (Sorry, LAPTOP, but someone else would have commented on that if I didn’t.) Regardless, this is a very good demonstration of what multi-touch can and should enable. Well worth the two minutes.



  1. Antimatter

    05/12/2010 at 2:30 pm

    Hey N-Trig, how about allowing my to use two fingers on my Latitude XT before dealing with this fancy 4-finger touch stuff.

    Oh, I that’s right. Dell and Ntrig don’t care about Latitude XT customers. I forgot.

  2. Steve S

    05/12/2010 at 2:50 pm

    …Actually, I believe that N-trig WAS the first to offer 4-finger touch. I’ve always wondered if that’s part of what got them into trouble: pushing the boundaries before they had resolved current problems…

    • Sumocat

      05/12/2010 at 4:08 pm

      And one device that features their 4-touch digitizer is… (Dude, don’t make me explain the joke.)

  3. Regular Reader

    05/12/2010 at 4:31 pm

    I just wish the digitizer on my Dell XT running Win 7 would allow me to take decent notes with OneNote. The inking on that machine on that OS is not as good as on my Fuji P1510D that is many years older and cost 1/3 as much.

    • Another Regular Reader

      05/12/2010 at 5:01 pm

      That’s really the point. On the XT, we have 4-finger touch, but we also have *Terrible* inking and spurious clicks when touch is enabled. The inking is so bad that I rarely use it because it reminds me of how good the inking was on my HP4200 before it died.

      Are the Wacom capacitive touch screens better at inking? I’d trade this one in for a Wacom.

      • Nameless

        05/12/2010 at 7:11 pm

        Wacom’s capacitive multi-touch implementations really just add a touch layer in front of the screen, and their trademark patented electro-magnetic resonance pen digitizer sits behind the screen like it has been for as long as the Tablet PC spec has been around.

        In short, Wacom digitizers just shut the touch layer on top completely off when you bring the pen into range, so no worries about palm rejection. It’s also pretty much the industry standard for art apps (Photoshop, Painter, Illustrator, CorelDRAW, SketchBook Pro, etc.), and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t get there if their tech wasn’t accurate enough. (It’s not pen-and-paper accurate, but with a little calibration, you can get pretty darned close.)

        The only issue I can think of is that some apps don’t seem to like the combination of Wacom drivers and Vista/Win7’s Tablet Input Service. (SketchBook Pro is one of them, but thankfully, OneNote isn’t.) Their touch layers also only currently support two simultaneous touches for reason unknown, though it doesn’t appear to be a hardware limit.

        (Oh, and your old TC4200 did have the typical Wacom pen digitizer, just not with the capacitive touch layer in front like they’re doing now.)

  4. Osiris

    05/13/2010 at 4:54 am

    Video is a nice demo of MT but I just dont trust Ntrig as far as I can kick them after they blew it with not only the XT. Dell probably deserves some blame too but im comfortably directing the bulk of it to NTrig after their crap responses and inability to deliver.

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