Like many of you, I am an iPhone lover and always dreaming of having a Microsoft Surface in my room which I know sounds luxury. I love the cutting-edge multi-touch technology, but as a matter of fact, except iPhone and new Macbook, I never got chance to try any other multi-touch screen. So when I realized a Shanghai based company, PQLabs, has its own multi-touch screen solution, I was so excited and arranged a visit to their office right away.
The multi-touch solution developed by PQLabs, named Multi-Touch G² is actually not a screen but a screen overlay that can be easily mounted onto any LCD or Plasma TV monitors. You can deploy the multi-touch technology instantly to existing monitors without the need of any configuration. It is relatively simple, lightweight and low cost. Multi-Touch G² is connected to the computer via a USB cable. Various operation systems, Windows, Mac OS etc can install the PQWindow Software Platform to support multi-touch interactions. (The following video clip can be also viewed on Tudou.)
Founded in 2004, PQLabs was a software development company until early 2008 when they sensed the massive market behind the multi-touch technology. It did not take long for the first prototype which was out in the summer of 2008. The product went public for the first time actually in CES 2009, 8th-11st, January. Now PQLabs has development team in Shanghai and business department in U.S. which is their target market at this moment.
If you have LCD or Plasma monitor but impressed by the multi-touch screen, Multi-Touch G² could be very simple and cheap solution. But compared with some other product such as Microsoft Surface, Multi-Touch G² also has its limitation. Currently Multi-Touch G² only works with maximum five points, i.e. the system might not working well when you want to demo something with more than five fingers, which is really a pity. Mr. Wang of PQLabs said they had found the solution and working on the next version. He also added that they were also talking to hardware manufactures to offer an All-in-one solution, a LCD monitor with built-in computer and touch screen. So shall we expect PQLabs’ version of Surface?
Multi-touch is expected to have a very bright future, and it can be used in variety of way, gaming, concierge service, interactive whiteboards and so on. Multi-touch is to provide and improve the interaction between the users/audience and the content rendered on the screen. If we check out the out-door advertising market in China, FocusMedia for example, it’s annoying sometime because it is everywhere and also there is no interaction between its screens and the audience, some people now get bored with it. So what if FocusMedia adopts the technology like PQLabs’ multi-touch and apply it to its LCDs? It sounds impossible, but you never know what will happen when interaction occurs. More fun, better understanding of user behavious, etc. I am sure lot’s of extra value could be generated.