Haptix 3D Multitouch Controller
August 15, 2013

With Haptix, Every Surface Is A 3D Multitouch Controller

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

Multitouch, has been a key way to interact with our electronic devices since the advent of the iPhone. These days no technology evolves slowly, however, and great advancements have been made to improve the overall experience. Additionally, companies are always working not only to bring multitouch to more devices, but to actually replace the “touch” part with in-air gestures. The most popular example of this at present is the Leap Motion, a project which received great reviews before it was actually released.

Now, San Francisco startup Haptix Touch wants to improve multitouch once more with their self-titled device Haptix. Like Leap Motion and Microsoft’s Kinect, Haptix will let users gesture in the air to interact with their machines. Unlike these two examples, however, Haptix also plans to turn any solid, flat surface into a touchpad, allowing pinch-to-zoom gestures and more.

Haptix looks like the natural combination of both Kinect and the Leap Motion; a sleek aluminum rectangle with a sight window to better watch your hands.

Unlike the unwieldy Kinect or the more or less single purpose Leap Motion, the Haptix has clip feet, handy for either attaching the device to the top of a laptop, setting it directly on top of a desk or, as seen in their Kickstarter video, clipped to a koozie filled with pens and other miscellany.

Haptix Touch claims the killer feature of their product is its ability to differentiate between multitouch and 3D gestures. For instance, when Haptix is perched atop the laptop screen, users will be able to keep their hands resting above the keys, just as humans have been doing for many years.

Pinch-to-zoom, swipes and other gestures can be made on the keys (otherwise known as a flat surface) and Haptix won’t be thrown. Users will also be able to pick their hands up from the keys and gesture in the air, to move a window from one side of the screen to the other or select a phone, for instance.

Finally, the creators of Haptix claim they’ve built an algorithm into the device to stop receiving multitouch gestures and 3D inputs when the user is actually tapping on the keys. In the demonstration video, the creators are seen using Haptix to play games on their television, play multiplayer games on their laptop without actually pressing keys and power through spreadsheets without having to move their hands back to a mouse or trackpad.

At present, Haptix is a Windows- and Ubuntu-only party, but the creators say they plan to add support for Android and OS X soon. And as an added bonus, the Android integration will also allow users to interact with their smart TVs. Developers will also be able to write their own code and applications for Haptix with the open API. Those who simply want to plug the thing in and start using it should be pleased too, as the creators say it will integrate with your system “out of the box,” meaning customers can use it with “pretty much any program.”

The aluminum rectangular pill box also boasts a 360 degree hinge with a 120 degree field of view. Once they receive funding, they hope to expand this to 150 degrees. Haptix Touch is hoping to raise $100,000 from their Kickstarter campaign which runs until September 13.

At the time of this writing, more than 600 people have given their money, totaling more than $43,000. Interested parties can contribute $65 ($5 less than retail) to receive their Haptix by February 2014, should all things go according to plan. Interestingly, backers who give $25 will be given a program to turn any webcam into a hands-free remote.