FingerWorks - Inventor and Developer of MultiTouch Technology

iGesture Retro

Operating guide for the iGesture Pad and the Retro Keyboard.

If you are not using Windows with your iGesture Pad or Retro Keyboard you will have to reconfigure your unit. It only takes a few seconds.

How Does it Work? Your MultiTouch unit consists of two main components: a Hand Imaging Surface (the touch surface) and a Gesture Processor. The MultiTouch Gesture Processor watches the touch surface all the time. It's always looking to see which fingers are touching and what they are doing. The Gesture Processor ignores touching and movement that are not valid gestures or valid typing, so this allows you to rest your hand on the surface without causing spurious input.

Interacting with MultiTouch is a form of communication. You generate gestures and the Gesture Processor reads them and tries to interpret the meaning of your gestures. You can easily confuse the Gesture Processor if you don't communicate clearly - just like you can confuse a careful listener if you garble your speech. The MultiTouch unit will serve you well if you communicate with it clearly.

There are five rules that must be followed to ensure clear communication with your MultiTouch device.

Interacting With Your MultiTouch Device - The Golden Rules

  1. Touch the surface with the correct number of finger tips (Note that this applies to only the initial contact; after the initial contact has been made the remaining fingers may touch down on the surface)
  2. Keep the fingers slightly spread - keep them relaxed not tightly bunched
  3. Maintain contact with the surface during movement - relax and let gravity do its job
  4. Keep the thumb separated from the other fingers
  5. Finger taps should be light and crisp - don't bang the keys, save your fingers

Additional information and guidance on each of these rules is given below.

Rule 1: Touch the surface with the correct number of finger tips. Clear communication involves touching the surface with the correct finger tips for the desired gesture.This is required because each gesture is associated with a particular set of finger tips that initially touch the surface. In other words, those finger tips that simultaneously contact the surface are used to identify the intended gesture. For example, the mouse operations of point, drag, and scroll are launched by initial contact of adjacent fingers: two finger tips initially touching means pointing, three mean drag, and four mean scroll.

Some of the gestures allow you to drop the non-involved fingers after initially touching the surface with the correct (involved) fingers. Practicing this helps to reduce hand fatique. Note that you do not have to drop the non-involved fingers but you may find that it is more comfortable if you do. You can also lift all but one finger without interrupting the operation you started using more fingers. Here's an example of pointing using all five fingers.

  1. Touch any two adjacent fingers on the MultiTouch surface.
  2. Begin moving fingers in desired direction.
  3. Drop remaining fingers and thumb onto surface and continue movement.

Rule 2: Keep the fingers slightly spread - keep them relaxed not tightly bunched. It's not easy to do, but it is possible to fool the Gesture Processor into thinking that one finger is touching the surface when in fact two are. This can occur if you have small fingers and you squeeze them so tightly together that they look like one large finger. Obviously, it isn't your intent to fool your system so relax your fingers and keep them slightly separated for all operations.

Rule 3: Maintain contact with the surface during movement. If all your fingers come off the surface during a gesture operation the Gesture Processor will interpret that as a signal from you that the operation in progress has concluded. Relax and let the weight of your hand keep your fingers on the surface as they slide across it.

Rule 4: Keep the thumb apart from the other fingers. The Gesture Processor might think that the thumb is just another finger if it "sees" it in a position where it should not be. For example, if you put your thumb right next to your index and middle fingers it may look to the MultiTouch software like you have touched down three fingers instead of two fingers and a thumb. Avoid confusing your MultiTouch unit by keeping the thumb comfortably away from the other fingers.

Rule 5: Finger taps should be light and crisp. - Hitting the surface hard with your finger tips is not good for your fingers. For typing, the Gesture Processor pretty much ignores how hard you hit the surface and really only cares how long your finger tip stays on the key you are trying to type. If you stay too long the Gesture Processor will assume you are resting your finger and the key will not be entered. For reliable operation make sure your key taps and mouse clicks are light and reasonably quick. Practice typing using the number pad to get the feel of it.

Of course, you don't have to use finger tips to point, click, drag, and scroll. Knuckles work just as well.

What to Learn First - Using the MultiTouch surface is very easy. You don't have to learn all the gestures that the unit recognizes to have fun and to be more productive. About the only gestures you really have to learn are those that allow you to point and click, but most people will want to learn many more.

We suggest you learn the basic mouse gestures first (i.e., point, click, drag, scroll). These are very easy and only take a few minutes to learn. The most difficult thing to remember when using MultiTouch is to stay relaxed and not be afraid to touch the surface with other fingers or the whole hand.

You might want to learn the web browsing gestures next. The back. forward, and scroll gestures save a lot of effort while the zooming gestures allow you to change text to a convenient size.These same gestures are used in many other places such as navigating through directories or editing documents.

For those that do a lot of document processing you will find that the editing, text, and file gestures really help to make the process faster and simpler. Once you learn the gestures you'll never go back to the old method of moving the pointer to a menu, selecting the operation, and finally clicking.

Number Pad - The numeric keys of the number pad are enabled/disabled by tapping the NumLock key. The non-numeric keys of the number pad are enabled/disabled by tapping the ScrLock key.

For Windows users: You may want to install sound generation code that alllows you to associate different sounds with mouse and gesture events. click here for download

For iGesture Pad users: If you plan to hold the iGesture Pad in your hand while using it be sure that the thumb of the hand doing the holding is not touching the surface. Hold the unit by gripping the plastic enclosure to prevent touching the surface and thus causing the Pad to think you are trying to use a new gesture.