Multitouch Patched Into Android


[Luke Hutchison] has come up with a rather clever hack to get multitouch support on the G1. He wrote a patch against the Synaptics touchscreen driver. When two fingers are placed, the driver reports the x/y of the midpoint and a radius for the size field. If only one finger is used, the size is reported as zero. The nice thing about this approach is that it’s backwards compatible; the extra data will be ignored by current apps. Unfortunately, Google’s Android team says that if multitouch is ever added, it would identify individual fingers and definitely not using this method.

[via ABN]

[photo: tnkgrl]

16 thoughts on “Multitouch Patched Into Android

  1. It is a good start, and made more eloquent by the fact that the driver can be replaced, with no ill effects to current apps. I think I’m going to can verizon in june and go with T-mobile for a g1.

  2. The iPhone does basically the same thing. Based on how the aspect ratio of the x/y rectangle changes over time, you can infer several gestures like pan and rotate, along with pinch/zoom. The big touchpads on iBooks do it, too. The fancy name is multitouch gesturing. For true multitouch with >2 finger tracking, you need a completely different hardware layout. So, while multi-finger tracking is cool and all, there’s a lot that can be done with just a two-finger tracking system.

  3. forgot to mention that all of this is a patent minefield. if you’re just screwing around and don’t intend to benefit commercially you might be OK, but this is some shaky ground for the poor android devs.

  4. @dielectric

    You mean a legal mind field in the same way that apple (I think it was them) tried to patent and exclusivise the mouse for themselves in the early 80s. Something which Mikrazoft fought for the right to utilise in their GUI interface back then too.
    Sounds like Apple are trying the same trick here, I hope they lose.

  5. does anyone know if this concept is possible using a trackpad on a windows-based laptop? zooming would be really helpful, as i do a lot of photoshopping in my spare time. thanks!

  6. I don’t understand…Android multitouch wasn’t implemented for fear to apple patents in USA…
    But There are a lot of contries where there aren’t software patents…And could be implemented google android multitouch in a contry without software patents…

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