Kentucky Touch screen / Natural User Interface meeting

Earlier tonight I attended a sort of open-access seminar on multi-touch user interfaces, catalyzed by an EE senior design group working with Awesome Inc. to create a large multi-touch wall for the outside of their space. The attendece was wonderfully diverse on account of the announcement hitting the professional, academic, and hobbyist communities in Lexington (more events need to propagate like that!). Attendees included several members from the Lexington IEEE chapter (co-opted as a chapter meeting), a number of local creative types, many students from UK, and several other interesting folks.

The discussion centered around the CCV effort of the NUI group, and was fairly solid, although I would have appreciated a bit more technical depth. I actually ended up dominating a couple conversations on account of being better read in the area than most of the other attendees, and don’t consider myself particularly well-versed in multi-touch display technology. I still don’t really understand TUIO, I was rather hoping someone there would be able to explain it.

One small downside, I still get the uncomfortable feeling that everything said or done at Awesome is being sucked in and analyzed as a potential source of financial gain. The culture there always seems exploitative (or at the very least commercial) instead of communal, which is very unfortunate, as they have set up a nice space, and seem to be attracting interesting events.

I really am attracted to open-access, discussion based topic seminars like this, and would love to see more of them happen. There are lots of good efforts to bring that sort of thing to Lexington, from a seminar series Dr. Finkel is attempting to arrange this semester (based on students and faculty giving short presentations on neat things they have found), to Collexion and Dorkbot’s regular meetings. This is not the first time I’ve been after this sort of thing either, for a while the UK LUG was running some decent events in this vein, in particular I remember a successful LUG event on PyGTK, but the LUG is several years defunct…again…because those of us who were active didn’t have time to keep it going on our on (and be students), and no one else stepped up. I think some of the short-form lecture series like ignite have had events here as well, but those have never seemed as useful to me.

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1 Response to Kentucky Touch screen / Natural User Interface meeting

  1. Luke says:

    Hey Paul, thanks for posting this! I’m glad you enjoyed yourself and we were happy to have your “expertise” around.

    We also have a group that gets together on Thursdays at 6pm called Hack Fusion – they work on different projects but the one they’ve been doing for the past few months has been an iphone app that our touchscreen will ’sense’ and the user should be able to ‘flick’ or ‘throw’ photos up to the screen (ideally it would be able to populate the demo screen that we showed off at the conference). The second version would allow users to ‘pull’ photos off of the screen and onto their phone. So far what we have is functional…I think they’re just working on the GUI at this point – a 3-D water printer might be next, but not sure. – and the meetings are free – though the app might not end up in the free section of the app store…we haven’t thought that far ahead on this endeavor (or most of them for that matter) but yes, we’ll eventually want to make money on something so we can keep hosting free events like these.

    Again thanks for the review.


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