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Joystiq impressions: HP's Misto

Zack Stern

HP showed off another research and development project, Misto, at its recent game media event. Misto is basically a coffee table with a touch-sensitive display rigged underneath its glass. That's not to say it's not impressive for a coffee table or a display; we've just seen similar projects, and other creative, homebrew game tables.

Misto's demos relied on a few simple applications to prove its touch sensitivity. I moved puzzle pieces around the screen. I browsed through photos. I looked at houses I couldn't afford; Misto is currently in-use with at least one realtor although not available for general consumers.

While a coffee table interface would be fun for certain games, Misto's current version misses big by only recognizing one touch at a time. Sure, there are technical reasons why it and many other devices can't juggle multiple users. But for the table to have the social gaming applications HP mentioned, that untouchability is a major oversight. If Misto ever makes it to market -- perhaps for virtual/actual Settlers of Catan or other social board games -- it needs to accept two or more touches at a time before we want one.

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