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Last couple of months I’ve been working on very cool project that utilizes new multi-touch features in Windows 7. Although I can’t talk yet about our product, I thought it would be good to start sharing my experience with multi-touch programming. I’ll begin with some general resources to get you started.

Prerequisites

Of course first thing you need is a multi-touch capable hardware. As far as I know currently there are only three devices available on the market. Those lucky to be at PDC could see that most demos were run on HP TouchSmart All-in-One PC, or Dell Letitude XT tablet. Later in December HP released TouchSmart tx2z tablet, and this week Dell announced specs on Letitude XT2. For my work I use HP TouchSmart IQ504 PC.

The good news is that we have already seen some announcements from other manufacturers, and can expect number of devices to increase closer to Windows 7 release date.

In terms of touch-screen technology both tablets use the same DuoSense capacitive digitizer from N-Trig, while HP All-in-one PC uses optical overlay developed by NextWindow. The main difference is that NextWindow device supports only two touch points, while N-Trig’s can recognize more contacts.

Unfortunately multi-touch works only with dedicated hardware, so you can’t use other digitizers (like Wacom’s), touchpads or TabletPCs. Also there is no way to emulate multi-touch on Windows 7, for example by attaching multiple mice, although this is supported on Surface SDK emulator as demonstrated by Scott Hanselman (see around 14:30).

Software

In terms of software you need two things: Windows 7 and proper multi-touch driver for your device. Currently I run on Windows 7 Beta 1 (build 7000 for x86), and when I did clean install today most of the drivers are now available through Windows Update. The only driver I had to install manually was for Ralink WLAN adapter. However the TouchSmart version I have doesn’t have TV tuner, so if yours does you might need to install some additional software. Fortunately Kurt Brockett published detailed guide how to setup Windows 7 on HP TouchSmart.

If by any chance the multi-touch drivers won’t install for you automatically, you can download them directly from NextWindow’s or N-trig’s websites:

To verify all works fine open any page in IE8 and you should be able to use two fingers for zooming.

Here are some other areas in Windows 7 that were enhanced with multi-touch features:

  • Panning with inertia is enabled “everywhere” where scrollbars exist.
  • Paint
    • Choose a brush from the “brush gallery” and you can then multi touch finger paint.
  • Games
    • Hearts/Solitaire have been optimized for touch
  • Shell
    • Windows Snapping (Aero Snap) with Touch
    • Aero Peek with Touch
    • Taskbar Jump Lists with Increased spacing
  • Windows Media Player
  • Windows Photo Viewer
    • Zoom, Rotate, Panning and Flicks
  • XPS Viewer
    • Gestures (Zoom, Two-Finger Tap, Panning)
  • Media Center
    • Direct Panning in most Scrollable Views and Menus
  • Touch Keyboard / TIP
    • Multi-touch touch keyboard
  • Internet Explorer 8
    • Panning
    • Drag Menu (Address Bar) with Increased Spacing
    • Increased Spacing for Favorites with Touch
    • Gesture (Zoom, Panning, Flicks back and forth)
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery
    • Gesture support in the Viewer

You can also download IdentityMine’s Air Hockey game from: www.identitymine.com/airhockey

Tip: If you are using touch on regular basis touch it is a good idea to increase the size of Windows UI (fonts, icons, etc.) by changing your display settings to Medium (125%). This will make Windows much more “touchable”.

Multi-touch Programming

Most of what we know so far about multi-touch API’s introduced in Windows 7 and WPF 4.0 comes from PDC session by Reed Townsend and Anson Tsao.

There are also two later sessions from WinHEC 2008: Multi-Touch in Windows 7 Overview covers some basics and repeats information from PDC, while Multi-Touch Driver Development and Logo Compliance is more toward hardware developers.

Recently published Windows 7 SDK Beta includes header files for WM_TOUCH, WM_GESTURE messages, and related functions and structures. It also includes some documentation and samples on this (also available on MSDN).

When you have all of above installed, you can try some code samples from hands on labs from PDC available on MSDN Code Gallery. These samples are both in C++ and C#. But to get it working in WPF you will need some more advanced framework in place, and I suggest you first take a look at the Multi-touch Vista project on CodePlex. You can take a look at MIRIA SDK that adds multi-touch support to Silverlight apps. Finally, for those of you that already work with TUIO libraries (like Touchlib) here is an applet to translate WM_TOUCH to TUIO messages.

More information in multi-touch and related technology can be found in the great NUI Group Forum. You can also find all information how to build multi-touch device yourself.

 

I hope that this information will get you started, and I will try to publish more information on multi-touch programming in C# in next few days. If you have any questions or suggestions please leave a comment.

Posted on Friday, February 13, 2009 8:19 AM Development , Smart Client , WPF | Back to top


Comments on this post: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7

# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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Very cool stuff, show us something on the next kgd ug meeting and forget about NDA :)
Left by lpodolak on Feb 14, 2009 12:50 PM

# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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Any news on a driver for the multi-touch pads on the current macbook and macbook pro's?
Left by paul on Feb 16, 2009 4:41 PM

# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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Very cool stuff. Do you have the C# version ready somewhere..
Left by Mayank on Feb 18, 2009 5:24 PM

# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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Where are the samples in the Windows 7 SDK that use WM_TOUCH and WM_GESTURE?
Left by Pierre Dinnissen on Mar 04, 2009 4:36 AM

# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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MultiTouchVista now has a driver that emulates multitouch hardware for Windows 7
http://multitouchvista.codeplex.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_-vxp1K-1Q
Left by Daniel D on Mar 04, 2009 1:01 PM

# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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Daniel, This is super cool! I just got it running at home and works perfectly. Thanks a lot!
Left by Szymon on Mar 06, 2009 5:13 PM

# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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I've just got a Latitude XT, installed the multi touch drivers, but am quite frankly finding it hard to find multi touch examples to test / show off multi touch support.

Suggestions for my setup would be welcomed.

C# code samples? Finished Products? Anything?

-- Lee
Left by Lee Englestone on Mar 26, 2009 11:59 AM

# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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Any idea of the new Wacom Bamboo Touch (http://www.wacom.com/bamboo/bamboo_touch.php) gives true Windows 7 touch support? Thanks!
Left by Aaron Cushner on Sep 26, 2009 10:45 PM

# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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Check out http://pymt.txzone.net

Its a python framework to build multitouch applications. Its cross platform and has native support for windows 7 multitouch. se for example my blog post here: http://blog.tehansen.de/?p=62
Left by Thomas Hansen on Nov 17, 2009 9:38 PM

# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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Just saw another question post about mac multitouch trackpad. Just wanted to mention that pymt also supports teh multitouch trackpad on the macbook pro's as well as th new multi-touch mouse.
Left by Thomas Hansen on Nov 17, 2009 9:39 PM

# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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The Bamboo Touch product line is NOT true Windows 7 multi-touch support. The driver interprets the touches and sends a mouse/scroll/zoom style message.

Very disappointing. Looking for a real MultiTouch touchpad now.
Left by Ben Von Handorf on Jan 05, 2010 5:00 PM

# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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and for a macbook?
Left by cris on Jan 17, 2010 10:16 PM

# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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Helpful article but can we clarify:

1) The article says "multi-touch works only with dedicated hardware so you can’t use...touchpads"

How come a touchpad manufacturer couldn't simply add native Win7 multi-touch support to a device? Where is this limitation documented?

2) In comments BenH says "baboo touch does not have true Win7 multi-touch support". Has the company said this is something they will not provide? How do you know they are not working on it?

Regards-
Left by ecards on Jan 27, 2010 11:02 AM

# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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Do you have the C# version ready Very cool stuff.somewhere..
Left by trauma season on Mar 26, 2010 11:35 AM

# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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With the default settings, you will get an application shortcut on your local Windows 7 instance when you install
applications in the Virtual Windows XP. These applications can then be launched from the Windows 7 start menu and
when they start, they will automatically launch the virtualized Windows XP in the background and you will be able to work with the application directly on the Windows 7 desktop.
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# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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The Windows 7 platform enables developers to create new experiences that go beyond simple mouse pointing, clicking, and dragging. The new Touch API supports gestures, such as pan, zoom, and rotate, as well as raw touch data inputs and advance manipulation and inertia.
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# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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Unfortunately multi-touch works only with dedicated hardware, so you can’t use other digitizers (like Wacom’s), touchpads or TabletPCs. Also there is no way to emulate multi-touch on Windows 7, for example by attaching multiple mice, although this is supported on Surface SDK emulator as demonstrated by Scott Hanselman (see around 14:30).
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# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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The interaction of touch and movement on surfaces is a function on electronic visual displays and touchpad pointing devices to interact with content. It is an intermediary connection and detection method from hardware to computer software, to enact a users intention.

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# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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On touchscreen displays, multi-touch refers to the ability to simultaneously register three or more distinct positions of input touches.It is often used to describe other, more limited implementations, like Gesture-Enhanced Single-Touch, Dual-Touch or real Multi-Touch.

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# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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This UI Technology including patents have developed since 2008. if technology transfer which is now working on is finished, you can use those techniques on commercial phone, eBook, TV and ETC. This is also my hope.
Left by Rosemarycxy878 on May 14, 2011 10:08 AM

# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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This UI Technology including patents have developed since 2008. if technology transfer which is now working on is finished, you can use those techniques on commercial phone, eBook, TV and ETC. This is also my hope.
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# re: Resources for Multi-touch in Windows 7
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Hi Szymon,

You've summarized well the start-up for multi-touch windows 7 programmimg. Most interesting was that restriction on dedicated hardware to support multi-touch with windows 7 OS. I think today the compatible hardware area has extended into a bigger offer.
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