Shift: Microsoft working on touch-based user interface

Not to be left behind, Microsoft has been quietly working on a touch-based interface for touchscreens it calls Shift. It looks at replacing the stylus with your fingertip, especially for short, intermittent actions that today require that you pull out your stylus. When you use your finger, you block off the area of the screen that you want to tap. Shift addresses that by creating a callout showing a copy of the occluded screen area and places it in a non-occluded location. The callout also shows a pointer representing the hotspot of the finger. Essentially, it lets you see what your finger is blocking.

Developed in collaboration with the University of Toronto, it is not clear whether we will ever see this technology in mobile devices such as PDAs or Tablets.

To find out more about how Shift works, check out the video Microsoft has posted.

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