Microsoft’s 100 times faster High Performance Touch technology described in detail in a patent app

Remember that video of High-Performance Touch (HPT) technology Microsoft Research demoed few months ago? The one that showed them reducing delay between touch event, and the changes on display from 100 milliseconds to 1 millisecond?

Want to know how they did that?

Now you can. Microsoft recently filed a patent application for the technology behind High-Performance Touch, describing how HPT works.

The key to Microsoft’s faster touch technology is prediction of probabilities (guessing) where your finger(s) will go next, pre-processing the most likely changes to the UI, and caching those pre-processed results – ready to display at once, when your finger gets there.

Since most of the delays on modern touchscreen devices come from the computations needed to redraw the user interface as your finger(s) move around the display, having the necessary data pre-computed – speeds up the process by a lot. Like 100 times a this point, in Microsoft’s R&D labs.

I’m not sure you really need the HPT for most things you do on smartphones today. The current touch seems good enough. But as you move to tablets and displays gets bigger, faster touch may improve user experience a lot:

MS Research guy said that going from 100ms to 1ms delay in real world devices – is their goal for the next decade. Which seems like a long time to get there. But you probably need a lot more computing power then is available today on a tablet – for all the real-time statistical calculations that go into correctly guessing where your finger will move next.

If you look carefully at the High-Performance Touch device Microsoft demoed in the video above – it’s just a wide touch sensitive white-board/screen, inside the wooden frame. With no way to see what kind of computer is behind, powering the whole set-up. And the only thing demoed HPT device is able to redraw/anticipate in 1 millisecond – is a light dot…  So do not expect 1ms latency touch devices showing up this or next year.

But I do hope it’ll happen faster than in a decade

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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  • Pedro

    Another great read Staska!