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Tactual Labs Announces Breakthrough Fast Multi-Touch™ Sensor Technology


News Highlights

  • Fast Multi-Touch™ (FMT), a revolutionary 40-microsecond capacitive multi-touch sensor, is more than 300x faster and precise than today's 13-15 millisecond touch solutions
  • FMT™ enables development of zero-latency opaque gamepads and trackpads as well as transparent touchscreens for touch and stylus input
  • Zero-latency touch input makes gaming more immersive, enabling new mobile, console, PC, virtual-reality and augmented-reality gaming mechanics and designs

Tactual Labs Corporation (Tactual), an innovator in multi-touch technology, announced today its breakthrough development of the world's fastest, most responsive, touch and stylus capacitive sensing technologies. Three-hundred times faster and more precise than leading capacitive sensors, Tactual's Fast Multi-Touch™ (FMT) technology enables zero-latency, multi-touch sensing with cross-industry applications for end users and OEMs.

Solving well-known issues with today's slow and clumsy natural user interfaces, the patent-pending FMT technology was developed by Tactual's team of experienced computer science academicians and business entrepreneurs, including:

  • Tactual VP Hardware, Dr. Darren Leigh, ACM UIST Lasting Impact Award winner for his pioneering work in capacitive multi-touch at Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs (MERL)
  • Tactual VP Software, Dr. Clifton Forlines, former Draper Laboratories Senior Software Engineer in Human-Centered Engineering and MERL Research Scientist
  • Tactual Science Advisor, Professor Daniel Wigdor, a Computer Science Professor at the University of Toronto and former Architect of Microsoft's Natural User Interfaces Team
  • Tactual President, Steven Sanders, of Sanders Capital and formerly Bank of America

Zero Latency
Professor Wigdor said, "Tactual's goal is to eliminate all latency from natural user interfaces. Today, when you slide your finger along a touch sensor, on-screen content lags behind, leaving a disconnected, loose feeling. FMT™ reduces that latency to levels below human perception. It endows the user experience with a sense of reality, a feeling of interacting with real, physical objects." Professor Wigdor's team has shown that as little as 2 milliseconds of latency can degrade a user's experience and impair their control of the interface. FMT™ is the first touch sensor to capture and report input faster than the limits of human perception, providing users with a real-time, zero-latency input experience.

Tactual's development plan includes a family of FMT-powered zero-latency touch and stylus input solutions. Tactual's hardware and software input solutions will make direct and indirect touch input more immediate, expressive and rewarding across an array of creative and computing applications. The gaming industry, in particular, stands to benefit.

"Tactual's hardware solutions could revolutionize the way gamers play and developers build multi-touch games," said Tactual President, Steven Sanders. "Gamers can expect an unprecedented level of immediacy and realism. Developers can pioneer new touch and stylus gameplay scenarios, graphical controls and game mechanics only possible with zero-latency input sensing and processing. This makes GDC the ideal stage for FMT's debut."

Today, game developers are forced to build user interfaces that rely on software tricks like rubber-banding and curve-fitting. These fixes for slow, imprecise, capacitive sensing destroy gamer illusion and impair their insatiable thirst to win. For them, the exact angle and timing of a sword parry, forward pass or uppercut, can make the difference between winning and losing. By removing constraints on expressiveness, FMT could change the landscape of multi-touch gaming.

Fast responses are vital to maintain the illusion that in-game visuals "are" the user's physical world. Fortunately, new VR and AR displays have reduced the lag that users see. But unfortunately, today's input sensors remain out of sync with the visuals. Tactual's new generation of zero-latency touch sensors will enable multi-touch controls that truly tie in-game responses to users' actual hand movements.

Dr. Darren Leigh said, "If you can finally have a user interface that seems completely natural to a human-being and truly mimics the real world, you have the power to transform the way people work and play with their smart devices."

Patent-Pending Technology
FMT's technological superiority over today's sensing and touch processing solutions includes:

  • FMT scans for input up to 4,000 times a second, over 300 times faster than today's 60 to 85 Hz solutions.
  • FMT recognizes touch input in approximately 40 microseconds. By comparison, today's capacitive trackpads used in gamepads, mobile consoles and laptops report a touch-input event in 13-17 milliseconds.

What this means on a practical level is the ability to capture the subtleties of human movement in computing. Today, finger and stylus gestures are poorly captured; digital objects visibly lag behind the finger; digital ink strokes lag behind the pen tip. More immediacy and accuracy can significantly enhance the user experience and reward developers.

For additional details on Tactual's presence at GDC 2014, please visit our press kit section at tactuallabs.com.

About Tactual Labs
Tactual Labs is an innovator in multi-touch sensing technology. It is leading development of the world's fastest, most responsive touch and stylus user interfaces. Its next generation touch sensors and architecture will create a zero-latency, real-time user experience for touchscreens, trackpads, and creative applications including gaming.

SOURCE Tactual Labs

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