Microsoft shows off 3D “pre-touch” technology at Human Computer Interaction conference

Kip Kniskern

In April, Microsoft Research released a video showing a 3D “pre-touch” interface, running on a prototype of Microsoft’s cancelled McLaren 3D Windows Phone, which was widely rumored but never went into production, and the project was cancelled in 2014.

In May, Microsoft researchers showed off the results of their work (via MSPU) at CHI ’16, showing snippets of the video and going into a bit more detail on the system. Here’s the full video (about 20 minutes worth), of researcher Ken Hinckley’s presentation:

In a QnA session at the end of the video, Hinckley explained that current capacitive touch screens are built to “suppress” above screen sensitivity, and for good reason, so that gestures aren’t misinterpreted. Although Hinckley doesn’t know how much it would cost to create screens with 3D touch capabilities, it doesn’t sound like the technology is too far off, and Hinckley thinks that 3D touch “is the way the industry is moving, whether it’s this sensor or something else.”