Touchscreens soon to (please) stop being a novelty

At least I certainly hope so. There’s a mall here in downtown SF that has an information panel that uses a touchscreen interface. It’s about the dumbest use of the technology I have even seen. If you have ever been to a mall, you know that occasionally you have to look at a map to see where the store you want is located. Luckily, a long time ago, someone decided that malls should have ‘You are here’ maps scattered throughout. The one factor that is always been consistent about them is that they are big enough to crowd around if somebody else is using it. As is the one at the mall here. Except the one here tries to deliver “personalized” information. So by pushing the stupid touchscreen interface nobody else can see the damn map.

Nonsense such as single user maps should somewhat dissipate as the tech hits ubiquity. Now there is even a kit available for C++ programmers to jump in and start experimenting. The TouchKit Run is a DIY developer pack for creating your own touchscreen whatevers. For $1580 you get a fully assembled, frameless 70cm x 50cm multi-touch screen, a calibrated infrared camera, and the full base software pack.

A developer’s forum has sprouted up for those so inclined. I trust they will show a little more restraint than those bigwigs down at the mall.