Pinch Smart Devices For Free-Form Video Clusters

November 2, 2012 by Dave Haynes

I haven’t worked out in my head how this could apply to digital signage, but new software developed by researchers at the Tokyo University of Technology definitely has some intriguing possibilities.

Called Pinch, it’s an interface that connects the displays from multiple touch devices together. When a user places a thumb and index finger on two adjacent screens and pinches, the screens link up. The screens don’t have to be aligned in any precise way, and can be a mix of vertical or horizontal. The devices sync up and share based on each other’s position and screen size using Wi-Fi information.

The system also doesn’t care about sizes.

The researchers told DigInfo:

“This Pinch interface we’ve developed is used to create applications that make devices react when they’ve both been pinched, so they work together. In the case of a graphics application, when the devices recognize they’ve been pinched, they can show the whole picture as if it’s on one screen.”

“You could use Pinch to develop a variety of apps. For example, with a music app, if you connect devices horizontally, you could keep playing music for a long time.”

“People probably own just one of these devices each. So, I think people could communicate in fun ways, by getting together with friends and putting their devices next to each other. In the case of advertising, I think you could create applications where people put their devices together to talk about the products.”

“We’ve presented Pinch at conferences, but we haven’t shown it to the public yet. We’d like people to use this system to develop apps. So, we’re offering Pinch to developers and are basically just asking them to do something with it. We’ve just started several projects like that.” 

It is not clear to me if this works across operating systems and I can only assume you have to have an app on your device that pairs with another that also has the app.

It would be intriguing if you could walk up to a touch display and interact with it and pull off content and then save, among other possible use cases.

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