This is really worth a read.
If the touch-sensitive surface on a mobile device were on the back instead, gestures like pointing, tapping, and selecting wouldn’t get in the way of the screen. At least, that’s the idea. But that creates a new challengeâ€”seeing where your finger is going. So Baudisch’s team has been experimenting with a variety of approaches, including using transparent screens (which, unfortunately, don’t leave room for the electronic guts of most devices) and attaching a boom with a camera to a device’s backside (which is predictably clunky). Baudisch’s newest prototype, and the one he described yesterday, is called nanoTouch. It’s a squarish little gadget resembling an iPod nano, with a 2.4-inch screen that dominates the front and a capacative trackpad similar to the mousepad on a laptop computer attached to the back.
This rear-touch interface is incredibly interesting and very significant for portable devices but there’s more. Wade Roush, the author of the article,Â goes on to highlight dual-screen interfaces too. He highlights two OQO devices hooked up into a dual-screen scenario with additional accelerometers that control screen orientation. It’s right up there with the roll-out screen as a distruptive technology. Don’t expect this to appear too soon though.
“The technology isn’t quite there to put dual-screen devices into production. Indeed, the second-generation OLPC device, while sexy, has all the signs of being vaporware. But Microsoft and other companies have poured too much money into tablet- and pen-based computing to let the technology’s development stop now. As Hinckley put it to me after his talk, â€œThis is eventually going to happen. If Microsoft doesn’t do it, somebody else will. So it’s really important to understand what the issues are.â€
The video below (from New Scientist) show the rear-touch interface.
Take a look at the full article: At CHI Meeting, Microsoft Turns Computing Interfaces on Their Head, and Side, and Back | Xconomy.