Jefferson Han‘s multi-touch screen system requires not too many words to describe it, only a few videos (represented here in thumbnails, though):
The main idea behind the technology: the prototype is able to handle multiple touch inputs at the same time, even varying degrees of pressure, based on the FTIR concept used in fingerprint scanners. [mirror] (paper at ACM UIST 2005: Low-Cost Multi-Touch Sensing through Frustrated Total Internal Reflection)
More interesting applications. Shown here is a 2D game where you shoot the enemy “UFOs” with a slingshot-like weapon, requiring two hands and multiple fingers! [mirror]
A lava lamp program that lets you add heat and mold them to your liking. Zoom into your photos, twirl 3D maps around, and more. [mirror] (recorded February 2006; released August 2006)
The latest video so far. While the previous demonstrations already showed 3D, I was particularly intrigued by the few seconds they showed a 3D rendering of a face with its mesh being manipulated, affecting its shape. (released 2007; larger)
The last one is an added treat to the article featuring the screen in Fast Company’s February 2007 issue and is spreading oh-so-virally like its siblings (it’s how I bumped into the whole thing).
Han has also launched a startup, Perceptive Pixel, that markets the technology as the most advanced of its kind. He is in talks with certain branches of the U.S. military, too, but also can’t wait to start on another earth-shattering endeavor. A true-blue entrepreneur.
And I shall not end this without hinting at the iPhone and the growing gossip linking the two of them like a fan-made yaoi couple. Also note that Apple has a pending patent for it. Jeff Han’s, though, is obviously on a larger scale and demonstrates so much more interfaces. Of course, we don’t know what Steve’s got under his sleeve.