Microsoft’s finger/stylus magic makes us want Courier more

Microsoft's finger/stylus interface makes us want Courier more

We’re stoked to the max by what we’ve seen of Microsoft’s Courier project – it looks to be a really innovative package that excites us a whole load more than the slab o’stylish chrome that is the iPad.

Of course, no one knows if the Courier actually exists or not, but the quiet trickle of impressive videos suggests that maybe Microsoft really has an ace up its sleeve.

Another new video has come out from Microsoft showing how both fingers and a stylus may be combined to control a digital scrapbook-like interface (yes, that’s right: just like the Courier’s).

Christened “Manual Deskterity” the video shows the technology being shown off on a Microsoft Surface display, with fingers and a stylus being used to great effect. Can you imagine how cool this would be on a book-like device?

Here’s how it’s introduced:

Manual Deskterity is a prototype digital drafting table that supports both pen and touch input. We explore a division of labor between pen and touch that flows from natural human skill and differentiation of roles of the hands. We also explore the simultaneous use of pen and touch to support novel compound gestures.

We advocate a division of labor between pen and touch: the pen writes, touch manipulates, and the combination of pen+touch yields new tools. This articulates how our system interprets unimodal pen, unimodal touch, and multimodal pen + touch inputs, respectively. We contribute novel pen + touch gestures that leverage the strengths of both pen and touch; utilizing both modalities to complement one another also enables us to largely sidestep the weaknesses inherent in each modality as well.

We hope that Microsoft’s Courier turns out to be a real product with an imminent launch date because we want it badly, damn it!

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