Synaptics gives two-finger gesture to PCs

Synaptics gives two-finger gesture to PCs

Apple-style inertial scrolling coming in - and easy speed control

iPhone-like navigation will be coming to PCs and notebooks over the next few months, according to touch-control market leader Synaptics.

It announced with unconscious humour that it is introducing “two finger gestures” to touch pads and touchscreens, by which it means the pinching of the thumb and finger used on the latest Apple devices to open and close pages or images.

Also coming in is what is called chiral motion, a circular movement of the finger that controls the speed as well as the direction of scrolling.

This, judging from a demonstration by technical marketing manager John Feland, makes it much easier to riff your way through emails.

Flicking your finger will give screen movements inertia, so that changes slow down to a halt, producing the effect that makes using the iPhone and iPod Touch seem so natural.

Feland says Apple has applied for patents on some of its effects but has not been granted them. “These things have been done for years in laboratories,” he said.

Apple had the advantage of having an integrated design, with the software and interface being designed to work together.

“It´s a lot harder to do when you are working with existing software. In the PC world there tends to be ´stovepiping´ - the hardware guys and the software guys work separately,” said Feland.

He showed the latest version of Microsoft´s Zune music player, which uses inertial scrolling. Instead of a touchscreen it uses a rocker pad with a touch-sensitive surface.

Other manufacturers already have the technology and it should start to appear in notebooks later this year, said Feland.