Microsoft R&D strikes again: the LucidTouch

Microsoft, a company that's been increasingly active in the world of interface research and development, has been dipping its toes further into the multi-touch pool with one of its latest projects: the LucidTouch. The new interface, developed in collaboration with Mitsubishi, adds double-sided touch to a 7-inch, handheld, Surface-esque panel (mysteriously similar to an Apple patent which we saw recently). The new system reveals placement of a user's hands behind the touch surface through the use of a mounted camera -- though future iterations would use surface-based sensors to show the digits -- and a touch pad mounted to the back allows interaction with on-screen objects. In addition to the panel itself, the designers have implemented "assistant" UI components that help ease use of the unique hand location, including a dragging system which allows you to "pass off" an object from one finger to another, and a customized keyboard layout that permits touch-typing at the somewhat awkward new angle. One of the areas researchers feel the technology could be implemented is gaming, though we suspect there might be more important applications for this kind of interface... like virtual "dating." Check the video after the break to see the literal hands-on.