What operating system/hardware platforms will MultiTouch
products work with? Will there be drivers for my favorite OS?
The iGesture and TouchStream product lines emulate a standard
USB mouse/keyboard combo. Thus their basic pointing and default
gesture functionality should work with any computer that supports
USB connections, without even installing drivers.
Thus newer PCs and Macs running these operating
systems are fully supported:
- Windows 98, ME, 2000, and XP
- Linux Kernel 2.4.x and 2.5.x
- MacOS 10.2 and MacOS 10.3
- Even BeOS 5 and OS/2
Configuring for your OS
If you use an operating system other than Windows, you will
need to configure the product for your OS after installation. This
way, the gestures will generate the hotkey sequences expected by
your OS. For more information on the configuration procedure, see
the Configuration section of the User and
Installation Guide for your product.
PCI-USB addin card may be needed for Older Macs
To use one of our products with an older Mac or PC with a PCI
bus but no USB ports, you will need to purchase a PCI expansion
card with USB ports. None of our products can connect through
legacy PS/2 ports.
Limited Support for Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 does not officially include USB
support in the operating system. However, USB for
Windows NT 4.0 by BSquare
does allow use of plug-and-play USB mice and keyboards on NT, and
thereby all FingerWorks products as well.
You may also be able to use our TouchStream Keyboards with DOS,
Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0 if your computer's BIOS includes the
"Legacy USB" option, but the "Legacy USB" option may not let you
use a PS/2 keyboard at the same time or plugin the TouchStream
Limited Sun workstation support
At this time, our TouchStream products will work with Sun Ray
workstations if plugged into the USB port after boot, but Suns
will not accept our keyboard as a boot keyboard. We're working
with Sun to resolve this issue via a Boot PROM patch. Note also
that Suns only recognizes one USB keyboard at a
Can I still have my existing keyboard or mouse plugged in
while using one of your products?
Certainly, if you're using a PC with Windows or Linux.
You can also use multiple keyboards and mice on Macs, though
we've noticed that the Shift key on one keyboard won't modify keys
pressed on another keyboard. Example: The laptop Shift key
properly capitalizes keys pressed on the laptop, and the ST/LP
shift key/chord capitalizes keys pressed on the ST/LP but, if you
hold down the laptop Shift key, and then press a key on the ST/LP,
the ST/LP key won't get capitalized.
Sun Workstations apparently only recognize one keyboard at a
time, and you must remove one before plugging in another for the
second to work.
I want to connect an iGesture or TouchStream
to multiple computers through a KVM switch. Which KVMs are
compatible with your products?
First of all, you will need a USB KVM. Your old PS/2 or serial
KVM switch will NOT work. Several manufacturers supply 2-port and
4-port USB KVMs that work with our products. However, you need to
choose a USB KVM that handles generic USB devices, rather than one
expecting USB keyboard data on one cable and USB mouse data on a
Unfortunately the IOGear Miniview II and III will
NOT work because they expect the USB keyboard and USB
mouse to connect thru separate cables. Our products send both
keyboard and mouse data thru the same cable, which Miniview II
and III cannot handle!
For similar reasons, the Belkin OmniViewT
SOHO USB 4-Port KVM Switch with Audio and OmniViewT
SOHO USB 2-Port KVM Switch with Audio will
NOT work without a separate USB keyboard to do the
USB hot key switching!
Dr. Bott MoniSwitch USB
Startech StarView USB KVM Switches
extend-it DVI Switchers (for Mac DVI Video, Audio & USB)
I've discovered a bug in my FingerWorks product. Can you fix
it without me exchanging it for a new model?
The firmware in all of our products is fully upgradeable via
the USB device firmware upgrade specification. The upgrade
utilities are in Beta and can be downloaded here.
I'm left-handed. Will I be able to point and gesture with my
iGesture products auto-detect which hand you are using and work
the same with either hand. On TouchStream Keyboards, you can swap
hand mappings with a special configuration sequence.
My Mac uses a 1-button mouse, my Unix box uses a 3-button
mouse, and my Windows box uses a 2-button mouse with scroll wheel.
Will the default pointing and gesture mappings support my platform?
You can switch your unit between Mac, Windows, and Unix mode
with a special touch sequence. (See the User
Guide->Configuration page for the product you are interested
in). Each mode enables the appropriate mouse button mappings and
makes minor changes to the gesture/hotkey mappings to optimize
application compatibility for the selected platform. Your
installation CD contains a table with the exact mappings for each
I realize your products already support a ton of useful
gestures, but I want to customize them. Can I do this?
Yes, all gestures and key mappings are customizable with the
To prevent a tower of Babel, the core right
hand gesture set is standard across all our products (i.e.
pointing, dragging, scrolling, clipboard, text editing, and
file/window manipulation gestures). If you are left-handed then
the above comments apply to the core left hand gesture
The two-handed surfaces of TouchStream Keyboards leave
dozens more left-hand gestures free for customization and future
enhancements like 3-D navigation. We have worked with customers to
develop left-hand application-specific gesture sets for Photoshop,
Emacs, Maya, Desktop Switching, and Word (Text Formatting). If you
think your favorite application warrants its own gesture set, try
out your ideas with the MyGesture
Editor. If you think an application gesture set warrants
addition to the default library, feel free to contact
I have an application that doesn't use standard hotkey
mappings (e.g. it maps F2 instead of Ctrl+S to save). Can I
customize the gesture-hotkey mappings for specific applications?
You can now customize all internal gesture-hotkey mappings with
Editor. Changes made with the MyGesture Editor are permanently
stored in your TouchStream or iGesture unit, and thus apply no
matter what computer or applications you are working with.
Sometimes hotkey-command mappings are not consistent across the
different applications you use. In that case you'll want to change
the hotkey settings within these applications to be more
consistent (if possible--Word and advanced programmers' editors
should have configuration dialogs for this).
Microsoft no longer maps any hotkeys to window operations like
Maximize, Minimize, and Restore. For any of our gestures to
complete such operations, you will need one of the shareware
key/macro mapping programs listed on our Third Party
Utilities that can map hotkeys to common window operations.
See the gesture/command mapping table included on your
installation CD to find out what hotkeys are generated by each
How do I adjust the pointing sensitivity and acceleration for
The simplest way is to use the usual speed controls in your
operating system's mouse-motion control panel. However, sometimes
these controls don't offer as much range as one would like,
especially on Mac OS X or dual-monitor setups.
With the MyGesture
Editor you can independently customize the internal pointing,
dragging, and scrolling sensitivities, as well as acceleration
functions of all TouchStream/iGesture products. Furthermore, our
internal acceleration curve is inherently smoother than what is
possible on the operating system side. But if you turn up our
internal acceleration, you'll probably want to turn off
acceleration in the OS control panel, or you'll end up with way
Is there a developer API or SDK?
Yes. Our Hand Tracking SDK is included in the MultiTouch
Utilities which can be downloaded here.
What is the TouchStream?
The TouchStream is a revolutionary user interface for desktop
computers that eliminates the need for a mechanical keyboard and
mouse. It is based on our proprietary MultiTouch technology and
was designed to bring computer use to a new level of control and
comfort. Typing, pointing, clicking, and gesturing are combined
seamlessly on the same overlapping area of the TouchStream's
surface. MultiTouch software determines which mode of input is
intended by the user, thus allowing fast and simple switching
between the input modes.
Why is the TouchStream frame slanted?
The slant is there to put your wrists in a more neutral
posture, reducing a wrist strain known as forearm pronation. You
should find this posture much more comfortable, especially if you
are already experiencing wrist pain. The slant angle on each
surface half for the TouchStream frame is about 10
Where should I place the TouchStream to provide the most
During testing we found that most people prefer placing the
TouchStream ST in their lap and leaning back in their chair. This
is quite comfortable, and you can stay in this position for a long
time since all that you need to control your computer is at your
finger tips. The second best place to put the TouchStream is on a
keyboard platform that positions it just above your lap when in
use. It should never be used for prolonged periods when placed on
a high (relative to your lap) desktop.
What is the physical interface?
All MultiTouch products have a USB interface.
Do I have to install software to use the TouchStream?
No. But you may find the tips and animated tutorials found both
on this site and on the installation CD to be
Is there a wireless version of the TouchStream?
Why use hand gesture to interact with computers?
Hand gesture was one of our first and most powerful means of
communication - established long before speech and language
developed. In the 20th century, our interaction with computers was
crude and one-dimensional. Today, however, we are attempting to
communicate and interact with computers in a way that is more
comfortable and effective for us. Therefore, we use means of
expression that come naturally: gesture and speech.
What roles will gesture and speech play?
The partitioning of tasks executed by gesture or speech will
depend on the particular application. In general, most graphical
manipulations will be done by gesture - it's just a lot faster and
more efficient. Operations like asking questions or non-graphical
interaction will be best done by speech. In this century, people
will seamlessly weave gesture and speech together to form a tight
and efficient link between them and their computer.
How will people remember gestures?
People are naturally very good at learning and remembering hand
gesture. Simple motions can be learned almost instantly, while
more complex motions might take practice to master. A great deal
can be accomplished with simple gestures. One doesn't need to
reach the level of a novice pianist to become a powerful director
of one's computer.
Why are our customers thrilled with gesture
capabilities most of all?
Our multi-finger gestures are the quickest
way to issue command shortcuts, move the text cursor and more!
- All MultiTouch gestures can be performed anywhere
on the surface, wherever your hand happens to be. This avoids
wasteful hand repositioning to awkwardly reach for multiple keys
in a hotkey sequence, or to move the mouse cursor onto a toolbar
- MultiTouch gestures are distinguished by finger
combination and a simple motion direction as the gesture
starts, so the command assigned to the gesture issues
- In contrast, symbolic gestures drawn with stylus
on tablet cannot be recognized until you finish drawing the
symbol. Drawing complex symbols takes awhile, which delays command
issuance and slows you down.
What makes our multi-finger gestures healthier
than the alternatives?
- Because our touch sensing technology is
zero-force, MultiTouch gestures are essentially effortless.
Just as easy as swiping your fingers through the air! In contrast,
holding multiple keys for a shortcut can get tiring!
- For each command, you use a slightly different
motion and finger set. This way you're less likely to overuse any
one finger muscle, as can happen with repeated clicking of
mechanical mouse buttons.
- You won't tire your hand gripping a mouse or
stylus. Just rest your hand on our touch surface whenever you
- A single, continuous gesture motion can do the
same job as repetitive keypresses and holds. For commands like
Undo or Next App that sometimes need repeating, the
command issues repeatedly the farther you move if you start the
gesture slowly. But if you only want a command
to issue once, start with a quick, crisp motion.
- Reversing direction usually produces a
complementary command like Redo or Prev App. Such
intuitively paired motions are easier to memorize than separate
shortcut keys for every command.
Are mouse operations limited to particular areas of the
No. However, if your application requires it, specialized areas
can be set up.
I'm left handed so can I use the TouchStream?
Right and left hand pointing and gestures are easily swapped to
How does one move the mouse pointer?
The mouse pointer is invoked by touching two adjacent
fingertips anywhere on the MultiTouch surface. Pointer movement
then follows the movement of the fingers until they fully lift
off, even if additional fingers touch.
Does it matter which fingers are used for mouse pointing?
The only general requirement is that pointing is started with
two fingers, excluding the thumb. On the iGesture line you can
start pointing with 5 fingers instead of two, for even more
Must one always use two fingers to move the mouse pointer?
No. Once pointing is initiated with two fingertips one may use
any number of fingers or even the whole hand to move the pointer.
This makes pointing more relaxing.
Can either hand be used for mouse operations?
How is clicking done?
A double click is executed by tapping three adjacent fingertips
on the MultiTouch surface. A left mouse click is executed by
tapping two adjacent fingertips. Right and middle mouse button
presses are done with other finger combinations. Clicking can be
invoke anywhere on the surface.
How is dragging done?
A left button drag is done by touching and moving three
adjacent fingertips. Drag initiation can occur anywhere on the
How is scrolling done?
Just bring four adjacent fingertips down on the MultiTouch
surface. Move them up or down to scroll your screen. Scrolling
remains in effect until you lift your fingers off the MultiTouch
How long will it take to become proficient at pointing and
Pointing and clicking is really easy. One should be able to
master it within a few minutes
How well will MultiTouch Products work with my favorite games?
The main gesture sets are designed to work efficiently with
productivity applications, not any games in particular. Some games
like first-person shooters really need an alternative gesture set
that allows one to click while continuously pointing. This
capability is provided via game mode on
all iGesture and TouchStream products.
On the TouchStream, will I still be able to do paired
key/mouse operations like Shift+Click or Alt+Click?
Yes. They're easy on the TouchStream ST/LP. On the Mini they
can be a bit awkward, since only one hand is typically
Isn't the MultiTouch Surface just an oversize
No. The technology used in our MultiTouch surface produces
images of the hands and fingers as they approach the surface. In
effect, a video is created that records the complete motion of all
fingers and the other parts of the hands. Furthermore, our
MultiTouch software can track and interpret the motion of many
hands (and their corresponding fingers) at a time. Touchpads can
only sense the position of one finger, or if more than one finger
is touching the surface the touchpad senses their
What is meant by gesture and motion input?
Gesture input is motion of hands and fingers across the
MultiTouch Surface which is interpreted as a command by the
MultiTouch software. Gestures, for example, can be used to control
images and player movement through virtual areas on display
systems. Users can manipulate graphics with gesture to do things
like rotate, zoom, scroll, pan, morph, cut, copy, and
How many gestures can be used?
Our technology can recognize a large number of gestures,
ranging from the simple to the complex. Most existing applications
can be improved significantly by using just a few simple gestures.
These can be as simple as single finger movement, say, to enter
characters or move a pointer. Or, movement of multiple fingers to,
for example, zoom and rotate an image, or to finger paint, where
each fingertip can be drawing a different color. Some
applications, such as video-entertainment, may have a wide range
of gestures: simple ones to control, for example, viewing
perspective, channel selection, and PIP positioning; moderately
complex gestures to "move through" and interact with multiplayer
game virtual areas.
Is the MultiTouch Surface divided into special-function
No. At the software level, however, the MultiTouch Surface can
be divided into any function desired. Alternatively, the same
surface region can serve multiple functions by using gesture to
change the meaning of input that follows.
What is the interface between the MultiTouch and the host
Is help available?
Yes. We can provide a CD video tutorial that includes online
help and a Gesture Assistant, which shows operators how to use a
Can the touch surface be cleaned easily?
Yes! Much more easily than a keyboard or mouse! The smooth
surface covers are made of hard, chemical-resistant plastic. They
can be cleaned at any time with non-abrasive, non-corrosive,
common household cleaners like Windex, Formula 409, or Lysol. We
prefer cleaning with Lysol disinfectant spray bottle because it
leaves the surface nice and slippery. Note that if you do not
disconnect the unit while cleaning, it may emit spurious
keystrokes while any liquid remains on the surface.
How often should the surface be cleaned?
Grime seems to build up at different rates for different
people, but generally you should clean it if you see grime or if
the surface no longer feels slippery. A Lysol-cleaned surface will
look and feel more pleasant for pointing and gesturing. Heavy
grime buildup could also interfere with the touch
Can liquid spills damage the unit?
Not so long as they are promptly wiped away. See above.
However, the unit may behave erratically so long as any liquid
remains on the surface.
Will the symbols printed on the surface ever wear off?
No, they are actually printed on the back side of the hard,
transparent surface plastic, so you would have to wear all the way
through the plastic to damage the printing. Remember this
interface operates with a very light touch, so if you're having
any trouble with surface or fingertip wear, you must be
pressing unnecessarily hard!
If I use a MultiTouch Surface for typing will my finger and
wrist pain go away?
We can not promise that you will experience any reduction in
your symptoms. It is our personal experience that proper use of
our technology can significantly reduce pain and further
What do I do to touch type?
Touch typing on the MultiTouch Surface is very similar to touch
typing on a keyboard. The main difference is that no pressure or
force is needed to input characters. For details, see the Typing
Instructions page or Mini Typing
How fast can people type on the TouchStream?
can achieve up to 70 wpm on the QWERTY
layout once they master Zero-Force typing. To achieve slightly
higher speeds and greatly reduce finger travel, you may wish to
consider the DVORAK
Can I rest my fingers, palms, or entire hands on the surface
without causing unwanted input?
Yes. Our MultiTouch software ignores resting fingers and palms,
as well as moving palms thus preventing unwanted input while
typing. You can rest a hand at any time by dropping all five
fingers on the surface simultaneously. However, most
isolated finger taps near keys are interpreted as typing,
so you must be careful to only tap the keys you
If the entire surface is used for both typing, mouse, and
gesture input, how does the system tell which mode I am
The system tells what mode you want to use by watching how many
fingers first contact the surface:
- single finger taps
convert to typing
- multi-finger touch means mouse,
gesture, or resting
Is there any tactile feedback like textures or bumps on the
Yes. There are braille-like dots, or raised dimples, at the
center of each home row key. These let you find home row by
sliding 5 fingers on the surface without looking down. There are
no tactile indicators on the other keys. If you learn to reach the
proper amount for them and then spring back to home row, you can
really 'touch' type (without looking down).
Is there any audible feedback when typing?
If you're using Windows, you can download the KeyTick utility
listed on our Third Party
Utilities page. It lets you choose clicking sounds ranging
from a whistle to an old-fashioned typewriter.
Other operating systems such as Linux/KDE have options to
generate sounds for each keypress.
But after you adapt to MultiTouch you may want to turn off the
sound and enjoy typing in complete silence.
How long will it take to become proficient at
Learning time is very age dependent. The younger you are the
faster you'll get it. In general, the TouchStream Keyboard is not
recommended for the older user unless you have youthful hand
coordination and you are willing to take the time to relearn using
a keyboard. It can take 1 to 4 weeks to reach your normal typing
speed depending on your age.
After mastering the
TouchStream, people come to love the effortless, light feel of
zero-force typing. And they love the ability to switch
instantaneously between typing, pointing, and gestures without
reaching off the keys. Thus you should experience increased
performance if you do a healthy mix of typing, pointing, and
editing as is typical with modern GUI
What about hunt-and-peck typing?
Hunt and peck typing is easy. Just touch the key you want to
enter. But remember not to bang the keys.
Can I move the locations of the keys?
Yes, you can remap keys and adjust their physical
On the TouchStream, will I still be able to do paired
key/mouse operations like Shift+Click or Alt+Click?