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Microsoft shows how pre-touch would have worked on the Nokia McLaren

A new video showing Microsoft Research Pre-Touch technology has been released, showcasing what it's all about and how it would have worked on the cancelled Nokia McLaren. As noted by MSPU, the demonstration was presented during the CHI '16: ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems earlier this year in May.

The presentation covers how Pre-Touch tech works, how users would have interacted with hardware and what this additional layer of interaction would have brought to the overall experience. Interestingly, we've yet to see anything of this sort make its way into a Microsoft smartphone, but we could still see something in future.

Would you like to see such a feature make its way to Windows 10 Mobile?

Rich Edmonds is a word conjurer at Windows Central, covering everything related to Windows, gaming, and hardware. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a device chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

74 Comments
  • Isn't this the same video that has been published, like, weeks ago? Aside from that, Microsoft needs to implement this technology to the upcoming Surface Phone
  • New video or not, I'll settle in for the in-fighting which is sure to come. Posted from PornHub
  • Your signature will always be the best
  • Why do they need to implement it?
  • Why don't they?
  • Because implementing it costs money, not implementing costs nothing more than anything spent. Someone determined the ROI wasn't enough.
  • What??? Doesn't look like anyone has determined anything.. This was demonstrated just this past may... It's still on the table.
  • You love to make stuff up to argue about don't you? The phone that was supposed to have this tech was canned. Someone had to determine that. So yes, someone determined that this was not going to be implemented in phones. That doesn't mean it'll never happen. Go back to your trains, the internet is something you're apparently not good at.
  • Do you have a copy of that memo? There are lots of reasons that things don't get brought to market. It could have been a battery hog. It could have had false positive sensory triggers. The software might not have been ready to take advantage making it what critics would call a "gimmick" at that time. A significant investment was already made. R&D can be more expensive than implementation development. So, the idea of sunk costs is likely more applicable to this situation than an ROI forecast.
  • You realize everything you mentioned is part of an ROI forcast right? Any of those negatives would/could cause a lower return.
  • Only in the broadest definition and even then, not really. Contextually, an ROI decision is made on the business side because the feature wouldnt generate enough interest or revenue to get an adequate return. I'm suggesting that it might just not have been technically ready. So yes, selling something that doesn't work at all wouldn't have any ROI, but I don't think most use that broad of a definition in these discussions.
  • These are all just " Fun project" for them, don't expect anything from MS until a tech is invented, promoted and matured in the market.  
  • Either they would implement it on Surface Phone or Apple would imlplement it on iPohne as their invention. I like Pre-Touch better than Interactive Live Tiles or Exploding Tiles.
  • Well yes, no brainer question of the day. Pre touch, 3D along with more continuum please. I really hope budget wp continue as well.
  • To late. Unless it works well. There is a reason it was caned. I just want my phone to work. I talk to regular people every day. Yesterday a lady complained what is this java thing that pops up it's always updating?? I don't want it get rid of it she said. If it's to complicated it confuses regular people.
  • It is not too late. It was cancelled because the hardware wasn't ready for it. If I'm not mistaken they never said what aspect of the hardware wasn't working well. We only assumed that it was the sensors, but it could just as easily been that the processors of the time weren't fast enough to consistently handle it as well. This is a fresh new product still being worked, and if it takes them a little longer to implement it, big deal.  Also, this is a feature that "regular" people can choose to use or not, I'm not sure where that part fits in this. If they don't choose to turn it on, they will never know it was there.
  • True. It needs not to be forced and optional. There is a reason many stick to iPhone. They know it.. That older crowd like my dad I doubt will ever have a windows phone.
  • Caning is indeed a good punishment for it. :P
  • Betting this will be brought to market first by either apple or google.
  • Apple will, they will reinvent this technology.
    Sent from lumia 640xl
  • Wow! So. Edgy. It was canned because the RoI and discoverability were very low... Apple has Force Touch, while Android will never have any custom interactions standardized in order to allow OEMs (e.g. Huawei), so take your cynical sh-t somewhere else, dear. Sent from Bikini Bottom via my ShellPhone 950 XL
  • Apple already invented its 3d"force" touch. So the media will say they invented this as well if it ever gets released Sent from Lumia 950XL
  • Samsung had this in their Note products for years now. You have to use the stylus though. This is a better implementation and could be really cool. I bet it will be standard in a few years.
  • Isn't the '3d touch' just another marketing term for tap n touch ? Or not?
  • Apple's 3D touch is another form of long press. But if MS or any other OEM bring out something like this I bet the media will say apple invented it first. If MS do bring this out they need a kickass name for it. Sent from Lumia 950XL
  • Apple's 3D touch is another form of long press. But if MS or any other OEM bring out something like this I bet the media will say apple invented it first. If MS do bring this out they need a kickass name for it. Sent from Lumia 950XL
  • Let me also say that most iPhone users I know are either clueless if their device even supports Force Touch or they couldn't give a damn about it. I know of 0 iPhone users committed to Force Touch and that's a pretty simple concept to grasp. If Apple can't get people to interact with their screens with more intricacies, then it's going to be tough to get others to grasp real 3D interactions.
  • Or Microsoft will bring it first and people will only start to notice when Apple copies it three years later :D But who knows...
  • Calibrating the display with user settings
    to set the capacitive sensitivity
    => problem solved?
    Want 3D touch or small quad camera system to record left & right hand vertical & horizontal jedi gestures.
    Call it "Microsoft Jedi One"
  • That poor guy is so boring that it's physically painful.
  • Ehh, this just seems like another mistake rfom Microsoft. You've got 2 possibilities: 1. They don't intend to use this, so they're showing off tech to the public just to disappoint them. 2. They intend to use this, but run the risk of McLaren 2.0 and the 15,000th disappointment/broken promise. In the first case, why bother? In the second, sure hope they have a MUUUUUUUUUUCH better idea of what they're doing, and whether or not this will work.
  • What broken promise? McLaren was never an announced device. The only reason we knew about it was because of leaks.
  • That's why I said what I did how I did. McLaren wasn't announced, but it was disappointment for folks anyway. That McLaren wasn't a broken promise neither excuses it as disappointing nor excuses things like Xbox at E3 2013, how we got told Kinect was required with the console (which resulted in my getting an XB1 with Kinect a month before they uncoupled it), or how they shelved XB1 OTA DVR and Project Astoria.
  • What's funny is Astoria must be still kicking around as several updates to field medic still reference it as a test
  • Isn't is something already exists on Samsung phones???...well with limited functionality.... I can play, pause and even lit up locked screen on my Note 5 with hand waving! 
  • I think that just works using the proximity sensor and camera, a full wave gesture like that is very easy to detect. This was meant to be able to track your finger tips above any part of the screen. Posted from my Lumia 950
  • I'm pretty sure the note does this also..
     
  • With the pen it does, yes.
  • Just like a drawing tablet Sent from 5 Sim Lane, in Neighborhood 1.
  • The PC does it with a mouse pointer when you hover over things.
    Its not the same thing
  • Actually... look up Samsung "Air View" on youtube... They had it back on the S4. Very similar as this but not quite as useful. Still, it did it by hovering your finger over an email or group of images, or an image on a webpage.
  • I love the one-handed interaction stuff
  • They are demonstrating it so much I think it is coming in the Surface phone
  • Something tells me this was a huge battery drain and needed lots of work still. If it comes, I'd guess it's a year or two away still
  • Interesting tech demo. Nothing more. Would have been a sales disaster. Brings nothing worthy for consumers.
  • Think about living images and force touch, less useful than this but marketed good they are a selling point. Or take the lumia 1020 camera, very few people had actually any need for that sensor but it made a lot of good noise in the market and helped sales of all the lumia lineup, till the effect lasted obviously.
  • Living images is a terrible feature, as was Nokia's equivalent. I turned it off straight away.
  • Ooook...and?
  • I disagree, it has a lot of potential if done right.  The video player is the perfect demo/product. If it's forced in areas that don't make sense then it would be bad
  • I would have bought McLaren in a heartbeat for camera & premium build alone even if this new feature was permanently disabled.
  • I fell asleep after 4 minutes. Jees, that uhm uhm uhm is so f****ing boring.
  • It beats: You know, uhm, you know, uhm, you know
  • I prefer a normal guy that is not trying to sell anything but admittedly a bit boring instead of the typical marketing guy trying to hype you like you were stupid. Maybe it's because I'm an engineer too and we are not too good at selling stuff :)
  • Who doesn't want such kind of features..!!
    With that MS had continued it further.
  • Zzzzzzz he is so boring intelligent but boring
  • This is Nadella and company going to their customers/consumers going,  "hey look at this....YOU WILL NEVER HAVE IT!  ha ha...then goes and slithers back into their offices.   They had so much awesomeness in the pipe with nokia and canned the works so the almighty satya could be cloud first....but in fact he is CLOWN first. 
  • So obviously you're Nadella's right hand man working alongside him and privy to all the inner workings and decision making at Microsoft. That's cool.
  • Well,  riddle me this,  how else do you explain all the features that have been taken away from mobile.   the massive blow out of nokia division,  the cancellation of all lumias going forward,  the stripping of w10m and total lack of commitment yet again.  and thats just in the past few months.  Lets not forget the xbox silliness,  one drive gate, zune player cancellation (the best music player out), zune music then stripped of features then named to xbox music then to groove fiasco we have today.  I could go on and on with crap that has been done to the consumer division of microsoft.  Yes yes,  some has been done before he was in charge.  But when hired he was touted as the second coming.  Windows phone 7,  will lead the way,  no wait....7.5....no wait.   you have to get a new phone but after that win8 will be the be all....no wait,  8.1 is the greatest thing.....No wait,  you now have to buy another new phone to get all the features of w10m,  now we are stripping w10m of the awesome devices that run w10m the best,  and leaving it up to OEM to make subpar devices that run the new stripped out version of w10m with no apps because we are cancelling astoria instead of figureing out how to fix it so it works correctly.... The entire consumer branch of Microsoft now is a shitstorm of failure.  The stock is high because of the enterprise side of the business. 
  • Too many errors in your post to correct.  Let's just say, a few of your points are valid (though exagerated for effect no doubt), but overall your view on what's happening is skewed.
  • Please correct them so I can understand whats really going on then.....please.  I am not even joking.  If you can explain what they are doing better than what I am reading on here (articles,  not comments)  than it would be very interesting.  But, as I see it it's exactly whats happening.  MS is moving to enterprise first cloud first.  and tossing its consumer base to the curb. 
  • It's true that Microsoft seems to change course on the consumer front frequently, and that's annoying.  However, if you're going to rewrite something from scratch it's inevitable that not all the old features will be there right away.  They're not purposely taking out features. Nadella was never touted as the second coming, but of course whenever a stale old CEO leaves a stale old company, there's renewed hope for the new guy coming in.  This however also means there's going to be a transition period where some of the things that were a focus before will be put out to pasture and the focus will shift to new things.  This inevitably results in "starting over" in a lot of ways.  To be expected.  Frustrating for the consumer, sure, but Microsoft is more concerned about long term success than anything else, and rightly so. The Nokia purchase was never about producing Lumias long term, and the flip phone division they were never interested in, in the first place, so they dumped that.  They bought Nokia's phone division not to keep the hardware alive but to keep the software alive long enough for Windows 10 to be brought to market and hopefully transition other OEMs into the space. Microsoft does not, and never did, want to own 97% of the Windows 10 mobile hardware market.  They do want lots of Windows 10 devices out there so they can make 30% off of every purchase in the Windows store, but they want other manufacturers to take on the much more risky hardware production of low and mid end devices.  Microsoft will continue to produce showcase devices (Surface product line) in order to show what's possible with Windows 10, but essentially they don't care who's selling Windows 10 devices, as long as lots of Windows 10 devices are being sold.  You'll notice that the Microsoft store sells lots of hardware from other manufacturers.  Dell, HP, Lenovo, Fitbit, etc. They never would've gotten very far with Windows 10 mobile if Lumias were the only phones available, and they recognized that, which is why they're purposely pulling back to make room for other manufacturers.  In the short term that means massively lower market share, but if this Windows 10 mobile strategy is to work at all, it has to work with other OEMs taking all the risk, otherwise Windows 10 Mobile would've been doomed to sub 5% market share in perpetuity due to there being only a single hardware option.   If they can break even on hardware, they're satisfied as long as it means they're making a killing on the software.  They're even willing to absorb losses in hardware if it furthers their long term goal of more Windows 10 devices in the market place. Cancelling Astoria was the right decision, and it doesn't even hurt us as consumers because it was pointless.  If you can convert iOS apps then there's literally no need to convert Android apps, since iOS has essentially all the same apps that Android has.  And why would you spend millions, and tie up a hundred talented developers, on an unnecessary project like that? As a consumer I find it annoying that they don't advertise Windows phones and they don't advertise the Microsoft Band, but the band, for example, was never meant to be a consumer success in itself.  It was meant to be a showcase of technology which other manufacturers could license.  The Surface tablet is a showcase of what Windows 10 can do, and it was extremely successful in achieving its goal of literally creating a new form factor for hardware which every manufacturer in the world is now emulating.  Even Apple is trying to get into the game.  Microsoft is working on doing the same with phones.  The Surface phone's purpose will be to show other OEMs what's possible, and entice them to do similar things.   In other words, you have to consider everything they're doing in light of their goals.  With Windows 10 the goal is to get as many Windows 10 devices out there as possible, regardless of the manufacturer (why do you think they're giving it away for free?).  And the Windows 10 hardware they produce is always designed to further the growth of Windows 10, the software, not necessarily the hardware it runs on.   Microsoft is a very different company from Apple, and let's remember, that's how they won the PC war 30 years ago, with a plethora of cheap devices running their operating system which left Apple clinging to a sliver of the PC market.  Google has done the exact same thing with Android and MS is now trying to do the exact same thing with mobile.  Focus on the OS and let the OEMs focus on the cheap hardware that brings the OS to the masses.   Whether it works, we can only wait and see, but the choices they've made were out of necessity.  This path they're on now is their only hope in mobile.  
  • Yea
  • yes and no. Yes: it would give full screen a whole new meaning. No annoying black navigation and notification bars at the bottom and top any more. Nice! As rightly mentioned in the video I am concerned with error actions and battery life.      
  • I wish I hv this tech in my phone
  • so they are giving ideas for iphone 7 or 8. and Apple will make it reality
  • Would be great
  • Hello uhm, my uhm, name is uhm, Jordan, uhm, McLaren, urm, Nokia, uhm...
  • its samsung air gesture on steroid!!!!!
  • In case you're in a rush, fast forward to: 7:21.  You're welcome.
  • One of the most annoying things for me is when the screen doesnt recognize my input because the inside of my palm is also just barely touching the screen on larger devices so it wont regeister when i stretch my fingers to the far side. This tech would solve that and a lot of other annoying hangups in current touchscreen technology. I think it's wise to start looking past x and y.
  • I think this is incredibly impressive. It's much better than I had imagined based on the prior descriptions. This isn't just a gimmick, it's a fundamental change to the next generation of touch intuitiveness. This is the kind of interface that once you've used it, you'd never want to go back to a static UI that's always in your face. Absolutely amazing, transformative innovation. I really hope this still finds its way to market and from MS.
  • Sorry Colin,  ALL CANCELLED.  MS could give two sweet you know whats about this now.  No business person using MS cares about this.  As long as they can use word/excel/powerpoint  then MS is happy.  Thats the short abbreviated version of whats really going on at ms.  I am bailing on them for mobile.  I waited long enough for all awesome features they were announcing then took off the table....plus no new consumer hardware, or OS or anything.  Hell,  the next xbox is going to be the xbox enterprise.   Get work done gaming style controller. 
  • @Steve Adams, this may be well be cancelled permanently (though I hope it finds a way to market with the right hardware in the future) and certainly MS is focusing their return to mobile through Enterprise. But beyond that, I think you are misreading the signs. They have pulled back from current production of phones to support and incent OEM partners. When MS (via their Nokia Devices and Services acquisition) had 95%+ of the Windows phone market share, which itself was only 5% of the total market, that didn't leave a lot of room for others. Now we see the HP Elite X3 coming out soon, which should garner some interest. The 950/950XL from MS are fine filler devices until their own new breakthrough design comes to market with Surface Phone in early 2017. And to have a strategy that starts from the enterprise is just smart for them. That's where they're strongest still. They've lost the consumer mobile space. They probably could leverage XBox more to help from the consumer side, but given their fiasco with the launch of the XBox One, they're still playing catch-up there with Sony. In Enterprise, they can provide solutions that no one else can, enabling a foothold in that space. With BYOD driving consumer/enterprise convergence, most assume this means consumer is the path into enterprise, which it can be. But it can also go in the other direction. By providing consumer-friendly phones but starting from the enterprise side of the market, Microsoft is correctly playing their strengths against the weaknesses of their competitors.
  • I guess you guys see it much differently than I do.  They are done in the mobile space (phones).  I bet in 1 year,  there will be NO new CONSUMER phones being developed by OEMS because they will not be selling.  The average consumer see the lack of apps, and sub par apps on w10m and moves on.  No matter what the hard ware is.  Thats the thing.  having sub par apps,  or none....that goes a long way to kill a platform.  The devs see no benifit for w10m apps,  even when developing w10 apps  they don't even both with a Universal app for phone becuause of the maybe 10,000 people who would use it its not even worth checking the box.  I hung onto win10m long enough.  within 10 min of owning my iphone,  I just sat and said to my wife....who also switched from 10 to IOS,  this is awesome.  Everything works fast, smooth and apps are so much better than the w10m versions.  EVEN MS's Own apps.  That speaks volumes.  If I had a platform I was even developing for the future,  My apps on MY OS would kick ass compared to the ones on other OS'es.   MS is going downhill fast in the consumer space,  never to recover because of all the broken promises, cancelled features touted to be the future etc.  MEH,  IOS is a hell of alot better than w10m and always will be.