multitouch + audio feedback linux dev -> XO-2?

Carlos Nazareno object404 at
Mon Jan 26 19:08:35 EST 2009

Hi guys.

As a lot of you probably know, Intel just announced the Tablet
Classmate PC which has totally ripped off the XO's form factor &
functionality, upped the hardware specs & added touchscreen capability
(something I sorely miss when I switch from my nintendo DS touchscreen
stylus to the XO when testing stuff)

Well, the XO still has it beat on price, low power consumption &
sunlight readability.
At $200 vs $499, I'd still take the XO any day. For $499, might as
well get a laptop with real horsepower. That's really just too
expensive for mass deployment, *ESPECIALLY* for public schools in 3rd
world countries (at least from a Filipino perspective).

Anyway, with dev on XO-2 in the works and with Pixel Qi working on
touchscreens from what I read, here are my questions:

1) Are there any existing hooks/systems for Linux for multi-touch?
That's the only proper way you can get a virtual keyboard to work for
a double-touchscreen clamshell device (the feasibility of which is not
sold to me because of the power consumption of running a 2nd screen vs
a keyboard, and mostly mostly mostly the lack of haptic feedback from
a virtual keyboard).

OT, but Honestly, as an electronic musician, the 1st thing that went
into my head when I saw the XO-2 concept shots was "I could write
totally awesome DJ/live electronic software for this!" because for it
to make any sense, multitouch would have to be in place. I don't have
programming experience w/ multitouch systems, but IMHO it should be
pretty easy-> it would just be basically the same as simple 8-bit (or
1-bit) single color channel image recognition systems w/ pixel array
bytes substituting for pressure levels on each physical X-Y position

In fact, you could pretty much do multitouch systems with just a
camera (the XO's would be good enough, the machine would just need a
CPU with stronger horsepower to do the image processing :P) and any
surface where discrete image sections can be formed for img recog aid,
like using shadows from hands or maybe a color-reactive transparent
surface where if pressure or contact is applied, a particular color
shade (like a chroma key) will appear to aid img rec.

Btw, on-topic w/ multitouch, these engineering students from India
just came up with their own version of Jeff Han (NYU & Perceptive
Pixel)'s FTIR multi-touch tech, Sparsh ->
totally awesome and they showed a DJ app too!

So back to the question: any existing Linux multi-touch hooks/drivers/APIs?

(btw, refresher on Jef Han's multitouch tech:

2) Audio feedback
A big problem with touch-screen/virtual keyboards is lack of haptic
feedback (and haptic feedback would probably eat batteries a lot). A
standardized/universal audio mapping to keyboard keys similar to
QWERTY, Dvorak or Braille would help solve this. This has actually
been an interest of mine for the longest time because blind/visually
impaired computer users could have a hard time with non-haptic
keyboards or non-standard keyboard key locations. Also, this would be
a great aid for blind coders, one would be able to code & read case,
punctuation & special characters via tone-mapped keymappings and
playback. Yes, text to speech and screen readers exist, but I think
they're pretty useless for blind coders with a need for speed. Can you
imagine running PERL through a text-to-speech system?

A cool side effect of this would be that any kind of text would be
translated to music via tonemapping or whatever audio cues are used :)

(sorry guys, am a synaesthetic, all sensory data can be translated
into numbers and be remapped to any other sense :P)

Well, these 2 topics are very big undertakings but does anyone know
any good starting points? If not, are any of these being researched at
1CC/Media Lab? I'm very much interested in researching/studying these,
especially the long-term study for the HCI development/creation of a
cross-platform internationally standardized keyboard/character/unicode
tone/sound map (reconfigurable by users).

Many thanks!


Carlos Nazareno
interactive media specialist
zen graffiti studios
User Group Manager
Phlashers: Philippine Flash ActionScripters
Adobe Flash/Flex User Group
"if you don't like the way the world is running,
then change it instead of just complaining."

More information about the Devel mailing list