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Display System That Knows Who You Are 79

lee1 writes "New Scientist reports on an 'interactive computer display that keeps track of multiple users by differentiating between their touch'. The system consists of a touch-sensitive screen that can be operated by several users simultaneously. When a user touches the screen an electrical signal is sent through their body and picked up by a receiver located in their chair, telling a computer precisely where the screen was touched and by whom. Applications could include system access control, safer vehicle controls, and smarter videogames. The bottom line, in the words of one of the inventors: 'If the controls know who is operating them, they can behave appropriately.' The movie even has funkier than average background music."
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Display System That Knows Who You Are

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  • Bad idea... (Score:5, Funny)

    by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:47PM (#15405455)
    I don't think I want a screen that can scream to the rest of the office, "Oh, it's another dirty pervert looking at me again."
    • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @06:05PM (#15405580)
      > I don't think I want a screen that can scream to the rest of the office, "Oh, it's another dirty pervert looking at me again."

      "It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were telecommuting or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of bedroom eyes, a habit of muttering to yourself, anything that carried with it the suggestion of looking at b00bies, or having something to hide from HR. In any case, to sport wood at the office, was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Cubespeak: pantcrime."

      - Little Sister, 1985

    • They should figure out how to get a pair of silicon breats to figure out who's touching them... It'd go great with this invention. All the salesmen I know would be beating down doors for Mnemonic Breats!(tm)
  • Sigh (Score:3, Funny)

    by Yurka ( 468420 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:47PM (#15405458) Homepage
    Gone are the days of the generic PEBCAC - now computers will know exactly who is there between them and chairs.
  • by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:51PM (#15405489)
    When a user touches the screen an electrical signal is sent through their body and picked up by a receiver located in their chair, telling a computer precisely where the screen was touched and by whom.

    Of course the chair would also need to be able to read the RFID tag implanted in your butt to solve the Musical Chairs Problem.
    • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @06:01PM (#15405563) Homepage
      Maybe the system doesn't care that jim or bob is touching the screen, but rather that seat 1 or seat 3 is touching the screen. However, this also creates the problem that everyone must be sitting on a chair. Maybe they could just have something you stick on your finger tip, or have each user have a separate stylus. Would be a lot easier to implement than tranmitting the signal through the person, and hoping that they are sitting in the chair.
      • I think he was being funny. ;)

        But yeah, the stylus idea makes a lot more sense. Especially if you were to use this in a meeting as a sort of whiteboard thing for a presenter.
      • There have also been installations of the DiamondTouch that feature conductive floor pads scattered in front of a DT display mounted vertically on the wall. The use of chairs just happens to work well when you're dealing with interaction around a table, which happens to be one of the big research threads coming out of the Mitsubishi Electric lab over the last several years. They've published a number of user studies (many at the ACM CHI [] conference) about how people interact with information when they're sha
      • Would be a lot easier to implement than tranmitting the signal through the person, and hoping that they are sitting in the chair.

        You're right. Having the user sitting in a chair is going to be the key problem. Specially some companies are going to run out of chairs, due to someone high in the hierachy keeping throwing said chairs, because he want to f*cking kill some other competing company.

        Touch screen : detected.
        Chair detector : ...TIMEOUT. Detector not responding, please check connection and try again.

    • ...RFID tag implanted in your butt...

      Why are you people so pessimist? They have no need for such invasive measures... I think they're just going to use something similar to an anal probe, for which everyone already have a proper receiver. Actually, it seems like a pretty good idea, just think about it. It's universal, not limited to humans - maybe soon we can see fish using touch screens. Wicked, eh? Some may even get extra pleasure from using it, besides the joy of using a touch screen, that is - I'm p

  • Great! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by imemyself ( 757318 )
    Wow, sending electrical signals through my body! What's not to like about that. I'm sure it will never mess up or anything...
  • by 9mm Censor ( 705379 ) * on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:53PM (#15405512) Homepage
    Awesome. I would love a monitor that tracks who puts there fingers on my screen. So I know who's fingers to break when the muck my display up.
  • ...what happens when I scuff my shoes across the carpet really, really hard and build up a gawdawful static electrical charge?


  • I like it. Finally I'll know when my boyfriend is playing with my desktop again, because then the screen will scream for help. No more rescuing the system after an embarrassed admission that the screen suddenly turned blue, when he didn't do anything except play with the settings a little.
  • by ip_freely_2000 ( 577249 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @06:03PM (#15405572)
    ...instead of allowing anyone using the computer to see and hear their DRM content, they can charge everyone who sits at the same person for the privilege.

    Oy vey.
    • Perhaps yes, but they can't charge you if you aren't sitting on the chair. Just have the person who owns the license sit on the chair, and crank up the speakers.

      Conversely, it does allow for portable licensing, and could function as a new form of Biometric access. Imagine double-tapping a desktop shortcut to with your finger, and it will automatically recognize you and log in under your account. When you get up and leave, someone else could double-tap the same shortcut, and would be logged in under their a
    • at least read the article summary. It says:
      When a user touches the screen an electrical signal is sent through their body and picked up by a receiver located in their chair

      so it doesn't differentiate between different people sitting at the chair on front of the computer - only between 2 people on different chairs.
  • by TavisJohn ( 961472 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @06:33PM (#15405765) Homepage
    And I can see the warning stickers now... "Do not use if you have a pacemaker or other heart condition." "Do not use during a lighting storm." "Please disscharge all static before you sit down and use the monitor." "Do not handle other electronic devices while using monitor, Damage or miss ID could occor." "Do not lick chair." "Do not use while wet." "Do not plug into a 220v outlet." (Yes we know it would be funy, but we can not be held responsible for any unwanted "Cooking")
  • by dlleigh ( 313922 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @06:41PM (#15405807)
    Warcraft III on a Table-Top []

    It's from the same group [] that brought you this [] project [].

  • Funky music (Score:2, Interesting)

    The funky music in the video was composed and performed by Peter Wilder. I'm a big fan of his work. You can find out more about him here [] ...
  • Wouldn't a system like this require skin contact to work?
    I can't see a "no pants" rule becoming corporate policy anytime soon...
  • by Shawn Parr ( 712602 ) <> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @06:57PM (#15405906) Homepage Journal
    Wow, that movie doesn't really show how the user detection works at all really. The section with the two different boxes was supposed to I guess, but since both users just made the boxes jiggle around it wasn't effective.

    Definitely we can see that multiple input works, but that has been shown within the last year or two already, so that is nothing new.

    You would think that if the major new feature is this user detection, they would have used different colors for the different users, or found some other method to really show off that it doing one thing for one user (resizing/moving windows for instance), while doing something else for the other user (scrolling through a window, selecting options in a different window, etc.).

    And what was with the staged beverage spill. For a technology demo that was pretty weird.

    I did find it ironic that the entire demo was done in XP, but they used Apple's website as their demo material.

    • The boxes are in different colors - it's just hard to see. (We're researchers - not videographers!) Oh, and the spill was to show robustness. In the classic UIST video, an especially robust DiamondTouch is lit on fire (don't try this at home), and people continue to use it as the flames sizzle...

      In any case, DiamondTouch is not really new. It is already a product which you can buy today! The article in New Scientist was originally going to focus on DT Controls, which is very new. It uses the same idenity

      • The boxes are in different colors - it's just hard to see.

        That one example could have worked, except both people interacting are basically doing the exact same thing with their own box. As such we have no idea if the system really works, or if it has errors and is passing one person's input to the wrong box as the result to a casual observer would be the same. Now if one person was changing the box shape only, while the other person moved theirs only, and the shot showed their hands doing those action

    • Pop and other stuff ... like him wiping it up was to show 2 things:
      1) ... It won't break if you pour pop on it, i wouldn't be comforatable doing that to a tv. ... kinda pointless though
      2) Notice that neither the pop nor the touching while he was cleaning had an effect. Having multiple seperate inputs may not be that usefull. However, having a computer that your brother can't mash buttons crashing you into a wall is nice :p.
  • This one's been around for a couple years, but might be new on Slashdot.

    It's a pretty cool system subject to some limitations. People that I know that used it reported that bumping into each other confused the system (although the ability to form human chains and have multiple people in contact using the system together in various weird ways was the subject of a recent CHI paper). The inability to get up and move around makes it less appealing.

    It's not really clear to me that having to sit in particular pla
  • Last month we had the dual touchscreen displays with the Matrix music. At least this is entirely original.
  • What genius put "bigbrother" as a tag for this article? If you read anything in the submission beyond the horribly-written title, you find out that what the display actually does is differentiate between the people using it at a particular time, thus allowing several people to simultaneously use the same interface device.

    This has nothing to do with ascertaining your identity, and this time you didn't even have to RTFA to figure that out.

    BTW, the Jeff Han mentioned in TFA has a site where you can see a much []
  • You know the old tech joke... Error between Keyboard and Chair!

    Now you actually can have the computer tell you that. Well I just can't wait to start telling my computer users this... "Yeah, the error is between the keyboard and chair.... no seriously, its you... stop touching the computer, and it wont break."

    But then, we have always been able to say that... just now we can have the computer tell the user this. Then confirm it. Oh my job gets easier... Thanks Merl.
  • who washed their hands after using the toilet... Honestly why would you want to touch anyone's screen or mouse for that matter... eeewwwww~
  • Here is a page that has a much more impressive multi-touch sensing demonstration than just some doddles and window re-sizings: []

    • Whoo, even including funky music as well. But it was more for user identification (or, more acurately, chair identification). Not that there was much of an example of that in the movie of the original post.
  • Can be found here: pdf []

    I wanted to post the specs itself, but thanks Adobe for continuously messing up their product: the copied text is put in the clipboard buffer backwards.
  • Isn't this the same as the screen talked about here? 1521227 []
  • 1.) Increase voltage of said system
    2.) Add survailance webcam
    3.) Broadcast
    4.) Profit!!
  • []

    "Multi-Touch Interaction Research
    "Bi-manual, multi-point, and multi-user input on graphical interaction surfaces"

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard