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Microsoft to Acquire Multi-Touch Pioneer Perceptive Pixel

Microsoft today announced that it intends to acquire Perceptive Pixel, a company founded by multi-touch pioneer Jeff Han and currently focused on large-screen touch displays such as those used by CNN and other television networks to allow anchors to present live, interactive data on set.

We've featured Han's work a number of times over the years both before and after the launch of the iPhone as examples of what could be done with the technology.

While Han was not involved in Apple's multi-touch efforts, which were based in significant part on the efforts of FingerWorks, his work has been looked to as some of the key early examples of the potential for multi-touch input technology in action.
Founded in 2006 by Jeff Han, a renowned pioneer in multi-touch technology, PPI shipped its first multi-touch workstation and large wall solutions in early 2007. In 2008 its technology gained widespread recognition for transforming the way CNN and other broadcasters covered the 2008 U.S. presidential election. In 2009 the Smithsonian awarded the company the National Design Award in the inaugural category of Interaction Design. PPI’s patented technologies are used across a wide variety of industries such as government, defense, broadcast, energy exploration, engineering and higher education, and its expertise in both software and hardware will contribute to success in broad scenarios such as collaboration, meetings and presentations.
Microsoft is no stranger to the market either, having launched its "Surface" tabletop multi-touch screens back in mid-2007. While that effort did not lead to significant success, Microsoft just last month relaunched the Surface brand for its forthcoming portable tablet devices running Windows 8.

The addition of Perceptive Pixel will strengthen Microsoft's patent holdings in the area of multi-touch input, as well as provide the larger company with expertise that will help it to develop new tools for collaborative work with its multi-platform Windows 8. Microsoft is planning for a general release of Windows 8 by the end of October, with pricing and availability on its Surface tablet hardware yet to be announced.

Top Rated Comments

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92 months ago
Can't wait to sit on the couch with my 60-inch Microsoft Surface tablet!
Rating: 13 Votes
92 months ago
That awkward moment when you accidentally hit your coworker, enthusiastically sharing a spreadsheet.
Rating: 12 Votes
92 months ago

My arms are tired just watching that video.

That lady has a nice ass.

Never talk about how tired your arm is in the same comment where you point out an attractive girl; it might give people the wrong impression…

I remember laughing out loud while watching the part of the original Surface's introduction video that mentioned the use of hundreds of cameras to capture motion of multiple fingers. It just seemed like the least efficient approach to multitouch. However, the surface revamp looks phenomenal, and while the iPad is ideal for many, I cannot wait for the new Surface to be released.
Rating: 9 Votes
92 months ago
For Consumers??

When has Microsoft ever done anything that was good for consumers? They perfected the maximum intimidation factor which lasted for a decade, giving rise to the "IT" standard of rewarding IT folks for recommending their own job security. After, and I wonder how long, they came up with "Surface," a tablet that isn't a tablet. I have to work with both major platforms all the time trying to do similar work on both and Microsoft is past.
Rating: 6 Votes
92 months ago
Multi-touch gestures on large, presentation screens is awkward, as demonstrated by the woman pictured.

She has to stay up close, which is disorienting, and use both hands, giving her back to the audience while obscuring parts of the image. It's the blackboard dilemma times two.

There are better ways --we live in the post-laser-pointer era :rolleyes:

But it is Microsoft. What do they care?
Rating: 6 Votes
92 months ago

You do know that Jeff Han is one of the pioneers of multi-touch.. Don't you?

Or do are one of those who thinks that Apple has invented everything?


Jeff Han is one of the pioneers. At the same time other people/think tanks were also working on multi touch. Fingerworks being another pioneer from the same time.

Jeff Han worked mostly on projector based input output while fingerworks was working on capacitive touch surfaces.
Rating: 4 Votes
92 months ago
As with many new technologies, people kind of force the technology into places where it is not necessarily needed, just because they can. I teach at a university and I could see using this to make a lecture more interactive. But then again, there are lots of alternatives that would work very well too. I would rather have an iPad and a Apple TV in the room where I could throw the iPad screen up on the projector. That way I could still use interactivity, but not have to reach over my head to move something on a giant interactive display. That's not to say that there aren't some really good uses for this, but initially there will be lots of people using these in a way that is less productive than what they could do with older technology.
Rating: 4 Votes
92 months ago
I always hated those big multi-touch surfaces they use on CNN. Watching the news anchors use them, it was like they were just subtly advertising for tablet devices instead of just presenting the news.
Rating: 4 Votes
92 months ago

How is a business started in 2006 even remotely a pioneer in a technology that's been around for well over a decade?

A decade? Multi-touch is over thirty years old. It appeared even before the first Mac was released.

I remember laughing out loud while watching the part of the original Surface's introduction video that mentioned the use of hundreds of cameras to capture motion of multiple fingers. It just seemed like the least efficient approach to multitouch.

Microsoft Surface (now PixelSense) is able to recognise objects placed on the surface of the table, something that isn't possible using a capacitive screen and at the time of the release was only achievable by using cameras. However the cameras were now replaced by a technology developed by Samsung that still allows to detect objects.

Actually one of the first multi-touch prototypes developed in 1982 used cameras to detect movement.


Ever see the craptacular response these panels have. They "swipe" almost as bad as an Android phone.

Have you touched an Android phone that came out during the last three years?
Rating: 4 Votes
92 months ago
It seems that many people think the purpose of touchscreen presentations is to wow the audience with special effects rather than to communicate efficiently.
Rating: 4 Votes

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