Perceptive pixels

Yesterday I met and played a bit with a Perceptive Pixel multitouch screen and software for presenting and/or collaborative compiling and editing of live data. Below is a post-demo elaboration of the notes I took during.

Originally these goods were used in defense and intelligence; now they’re going public.

It’s $55k for the basic hardware that I saw – there are other models – and more for the software.

The Storyboard application is like a meta-Prezi – ie awesome (although I did miss Prezi’s peculiar elegance as I watched the demo). With Storyboard you can:

  • compile data from multiple formats onto a pasteboard, and interact with your sources in their native form;
  • annotate — scribble, take stills from video and hand-carved crops from stills;
  • move and zoom things to your heart’s content;
  • order the flow of your presentation by pointing from one source to another, and instantly show that series;
  • collaborate with or present to a co-located or distributed group.

Note: I might gave munged two different apps in the above account — <excuse> it was a fast-paced demo.

One of the wow factors was how very fast the data flowed – and the demo I saw was apparently using 3G mobile.

There are APIs. You can create custom gestures, feed in from a camera, and out to a printer.

The unit is sensitivity-adjustable. I don’t know why it was set the way it was for the demo, but I’d want a lighter-touch setting more like iPhone. The screen I played with demanded I be firmer — heavier — than my natural state. It was not always easy to perform the necessary gestural pattern; and I wasn’t the only one who had trouble.

An interesting side discussion was about how the conductivity (? however it works) of the touch between fingers and screen varies according to skin colour and dryness.

We asked to see the system in action with a large data set, so they pulled out the fancy CNN-commissioned interactive US election history viewer, drawing on a petabyte of data. (I wonder if Antony Green has seen it.)

It sure would be ace to see some great Australian content on that baby – and not just political; cultural too.

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