July 12, 2012
Perceptive Pixel Purchase By Microsoft Signifies Massive Shift In Human Computer Interaction Standards
|With Microsoft's announced purchase of Perceptive Pixel this week, human-computer interaction is about to experience a wide-ranging change. Jeff Han's technology and application environment may soon replace the mouse and keyboard model for many computer applications, especially forupcoming Windows 8 devices.|
In early 2006 a young man in a black turtle neck shirt wowed the crowd at TED. Jeff Han's multitouch interface demonstration was, for many, their first experience with this form of human computer interaction.
The paradigm that Han helped to invent and develop first as a researcher with New York University and then with his company Perceptive Pixel Inc. (PPI) has started become ubiquitous with tablet PCs, smart phones and Smart Boards, and promises to expand to nearly every computer system via the new IOS and Windows 8 launches.
Han is considered so influential in the world of computer interfaces that he was even one of Time magazine's 2008 listing of the 100 Most Influential People in The World. Han's technology has been featured most notably as the "Magic Wall" on CNN's Election Center coverage.
Now that Microsoft has purchased Perceptive Pixel, it has acquired what many believe to be the best in multi touch and pen interaction technology and intellectual property. The ubiquity of pen and multi-user, multi-touch computer interfaces in the future is definitely on the horizon this deal solidifies its importance. Looking back in a few years, this deal might be considered a mini-Singularity for human-computer interaction.
Microsoft has, for a long time, been developing its own large format multi-touch hardware via its Surface tables (now under the name PixelSense). These efforts worked in conjunction with Samsung and never found the anticipated market returns. Now, with Windows 8 being prepared to ship, and the computer hardware catching up to the requirements of the Perceptive Pixel interface, the time may be ripe for a big disruption in large-format interactive displays.
While the large format Magic Walls and Smart Boards do promise to bring a lot of change to corporate meeting rooms and classrooms, it may be at the personal level that Microsoft saw the greatest opportunity in Perceptive Pixel.
The real game-changer may be turning large interactive displays into active desktops and tables. With a solid operating environment provided by Windows 8 and a delightful and productive user experience provided by PPI technology, Microsoft may have a winning formula. Furthermore, a comprehensive pen interaction technology and application environment differentiates Microsoft from Apple's rejection of a stylus on their devices.
For instance, the Perceptive Pixel 27 inch model might be the backbone technology for a new line of computer products that fall between a desktop PC and a tablet computer. The Perceptive Pixel technology allows users to work fluidly on screen with both the stylus an hands without the need to toggle between input modes. The 27" pro-cap display detects an unlimited number of fingers and up to two stylus inputs simultaneously, and the innovative controller technology flawlessly differentiates styluses from fingers while tracking input from each stylus separately and eliminating false touches.
Other competitors are also after the pen and multi-user, multi touch technology market. Wacom, for instance announced release of the Cintiq HD Touch product recently and other companies are also in development of interactive desktop solutions. Camera-based systems in development by some companies such as NextWindow, work well on large format Smart Boards, but may not be suitable or robust enough for the medium desktop versions such as the 27 inch Perceptive Pixel Model (consider the limited popularity of the HP Touchsmart).
In large part, the acquisition by Microsoft shows that they are more and more developing a hardware component to their business that, to be successfully implemented, must be harmonious with software. Windows 8 and Perceptive Pixel, by this respect seem, like an ideal pairing.
In the end too, Microsoft is getting the guy in the black turtle neck with the deal. Jeff Han helped to invent the computer interaction model that is taking over the world and now with Microsoft, the scales for him have just grown very large.
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Tags: business, gadgets, HCU, Human-computer interaction, Jeff Han, Microsoft, Microsoft Surface, multi touch displays, Perceptive Pixel, PixelSense, PPI, smart board, Windows 8
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