History of Multi-Touch Technology

History of Multi-Touch Technology During the last 10 years, multi-touch technology has rapidly evolved and has been implemented within a multitude of devices, software programs, and hardware. In the years to come, this technology will be even more used and will soon become part of people’s day-to-day lives enabling them to easily interact with a computer screen or device using solely their fingers.

Even if the future of multi-touch technology is the most important aspect scientists should focus on, it is better from time to time to take a trip down memory lane and assess its evolution.

When did multi-touch technology appear?

The origin of multi-touch technology takes us back to 1982 when Nimish Mehta from the University of Toronto was the first one to develop a finger pressure display using this technology. The year 1982 was an important year in multi-touch history because, after the discovery of Nimish Mehta, other engineering companies like Bell Labs got involved in the development of this technology.

In this way, in 1983 there were many discussions related to multi-touch screens and this new revolutionary technology, which led to the development of a touch screen that would change images by using more than just one hand. Over time, Bell Labs decided to focus more on software development rather than hardware and registered important success in the field of multi-touch technology.

Until the 20th century, multi-touch technology was not so popular due to the lack of breakthroughs in this domain. However, the success, popularity, and use of this technology started to change once with the breakthrough of Pierre Wellner in 1991. In his paper “Digital Desk”, Pierre Wellner presented the advantages and mechanism of multi-touch technology, supporting the idea of multi-finger use.

Furthermore, starting with 2001, all these papers and inventions were further analyzed, improved, expanded, and developed in today’s multi-touch devices, software programs, and hardware. The main player in the multi-touch technology market was Apple which 2007 launched the iPhone in. This product led to an increase in popularity and use of this technology as more customized, robust, and gesture-based devices were developed from then on.

In other words, even if the roots of multi-touch technology are related to the year 1982 the real development of multi-touch solutions as we see them today is related to the discoveries reached since 2007 and on.


Finally, the future of multi-touch technology seems bright as more and more solutions are developed on a daily basis and implemented in all types of businesses and fields of activity like medicine, banking, and most importantly – the engineering domain.

During the last two years, there have been many developments of solutions, either as devices, software programs, or hardware. Whether we are thinking of multi-touch tables, multi-touch phones, or multi-touch displays, this technology definitely represents an area of expertise that has yet a lot to reveal.

Eric Palto is a technology analyst and a regular writer on new technology topics. He also comments on and discusses new technology companies in the market. A company that captured his interest recently was TouchData LLC.

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