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Forum for Tune Smithy, Bounce Metronome and other software from Robert Inventor
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Author Topic: Multi-touch polyphony and Windows 7  (Read 3340 times)
Robert Walker
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« on: November 13, 2008, 04:13:44 PM »

It's been announced recently that Windows 7 will have multi-touch capabilities as standard. When this is released, then it should be possible to make the virtual keyboards in FTS multi-touch too.

I.e. the screen of your computer or laptop would be touch sensitive, and you'd be able to play the on-screen virtual keyboard using two or more fingers at once to play polyphonic music.
 
short demo
http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/windowsvista/archive/2008/05/27/microsoft-demonstrates-multi-touch.aspx
(see demo playing on-screen piano keyboard towards the end)

techy lecture:
http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/PC03/
 
The hardware they used in the lecture, which is already available and will be able to run their Windows 7 beta with multi-touch:
Dell Lattitude XT, or HP TouchSmart 2.

lecture, 73 minutes in
The touchsmart supports 2 fingers only.
The Dell XT - around 5 or 10.
 
Windows 7 is slated for release some time in 2009.
 
With some luck, I may be able to add multi-touch polyphonic playing of all the virtual keyboards in Tune Smithy pretty much as soon as it is released - the code you need looks particularly straightforward.
 
Not velocity sensitive as you can only get the x and y coordinates of the fingers, no z coord and no information about the contact area (if you could, you could use the rate of increase in contact area as the finger touches the screen to derive a velocity of sorts).

However, you will be able to make the volume depend on where you click on the key, quieter near the top and louder near the bottom if you use the option in the PC Keyboard - To Play (Ctrl + 24) window.

==Maybe even the virtual keys of some machines could be made touch sensitive (speculative)==

The idea here is to make it so that the volumes of the notes depend on how quickly your finger hits the screen at the moment of contact, so you use more finger velocity for louder notes.

If the manufacturers release an SDK (Software Development Kit) that lets you get at the raw data - or if Windows 7 gives some way of getting at the raw data, it might perhaps even be possible to make the virtual keys touch sensitive to some extent. The raw data must include contact area information etc because e.g. they have palm avoidance routines that detect if the shape of the patch looks like the palm so should be ignored.

To get an idea of what it could be like, you could look at the way I used the Synaptics SDK to let you use synaptics touch pads with FTS as a touch sensitive playing surface even with aftertouch. If you have a laptop with a synaptics touch pad you can try this out using Synaptics Touch Pad Options (Ctrl + 211). Actually it doesn't work that brilliantly on my laptop but there is nothing wrong with the theory, just that naturally the hardware isn't particularly designed to be used in this way. Perhaps it may work better on other touch pads.
 
Robert


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