Synaptics ClickPad tracks 10-finger gestures for Windows 8

Windows 8’s finger-friendly Metro interface supports all kinds of multi-touch gestures, but you won’t need a tablet to take advantage. At the Microsoft Ecosystem Summit in Taipei this week, Synaptics is demonstrating some very slick Win8 gestures on a touchpad. Officially dubbed a ClickPad due to its lack of discrete buttons, the touchpad is said to be capable of tracking up to 10 fingers simultaneously.

Keeping track of that many digits requires a touchpad area of at least 3.9″ x 2.2″ (100 x 56 mm). Synaptics also claims that its InterTouch interface is an essential ingredient. Old-school PS/2 touchpad interfaces can only register four finger contact points and track two fingers in real time, the company says, but InterTouch uses “existing industry standard, higher-speed bus interfaces”—my money’s on USB. InterTouch is apparently an open architecture that other touchpad makers are free to use.

So, how does it all work? I’m glad you asked, because Synaptics has posted a video that we’ve embedded below.

Rather than emulating a mouse, the ClickPad essentially behaves as a touchscreen. The finger tracking looks smooth, and there’s an intuitiveness to some of Metro’s gestures that really shines through. I’m not sure this kind of touchpad behavior is going to fly when poking around on the desktop, though. As slick as the gestures look, I’d like to be able to switch to a traditional touchpad mode for detail-oriented work like document or image editing.

Comments closed
    • oldog
    • 8 years ago

    Does this mean that the track pads in Windows lappies will equal the buttery smoothness of a MacBook?

    Didn’t think so.

    • eitje
    • 8 years ago

    Next up: 10-finger tracking for nubbin mice…

    • cheapFreeAgent
    • 8 years ago

    For laptop-size touchpad, four fingers gestures should be enough.
    I can’t remember the last time I tried to use my pinkie finger to touch the pad.

    • destroy.all.monsters
    • 8 years ago

    Rick Bergman must be happy to be at a company that is actually getting positive p.r.

    His former company sure can’t say that.

    • albundy
    • 8 years ago

    so pretty much you dont know where your clicking…yeah i can see that not working…EVER!

    win 8 antivirus: Are you sure you want to run the infected executable?
    Yes | No | Cancel

    user: Oh $hitttt! I’m screwed!

    • willyolio
    • 8 years ago

    trackpads will always suck until they can track my finger(s) without touching, and touch = click.

    i have no idea where i’ll be clicking.

    unless they turn the trackpad into a mini-screen as well so you’ll have a better idea of where your finger correlates to the screen position. at that point you might as well make the main screen a touchscreen.

      • Disco
      • 8 years ago

      Having a small touchscreen for the touchpad is a good idea, and your hands wouldn’t get in the way of your view of the larger screen. But then you end up looking down everytime you want to ‘click’ something…

      The regular old mouse still seems to be doing the job!

    • Noigel
    • 8 years ago

    First I was all like: “Oh they didn’t record an audio track… ” and then she played notes on the piano… And then white noise again for the rest… and the different segments turning off and on and the creepy pans… did we just watch The Ring VHS tape?

    • Noigel
    • 8 years ago

    Omg, if there is anything in this world that needs tactile feedback (and definitive key placement) it is a piano… Otherwise all you could do is jaggle the keys randomly… Like she did in the video.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      I agree, the piano bit did far more harm than good. That crazy pounding is about all you’ll get out of this without an actual MIDI controller.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    Not interested until it can track all 12 of my fingers.

      • smilingcrow
      • 8 years ago

      Does it support opposable thumbs as well as them novelty digits?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        what about the “novelty digit” in my pants?

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          It still works?

    • willmore
    • 8 years ago

    The Google Earth bit looked painful. You really have to use a Space Navigator once to realize what you’re missing.

    • Umbragen
    • 8 years ago

    If Microsoft wants to sell me another operating system why don’t they include something I’d find useful? How about integrated SSD caching, that would worth paying for. Instead it’s this endless stream of gimmicky crap.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      i guess you should probably go back and install xp. But wait, why stop there? i hear 3.1 is pretty damn light, and at that footprint! who can complain!

      • UberGerbil
      • 8 years ago

      Why are you ranting about Microsoft? This is Synaptics, doing a demo at an MS event.

      • bcronce
      • 8 years ago

      There’s a ton of cool Kernel/IO/Network/Memory tweaks. Win7 will run just fine, like how XP runs just fine. But Win8 will be better, just some possibly annoying UI things, depending on how many things they make optional.

    • glacius555
    • 8 years ago

    “I can’t wait for new things to see in Windows 8!”

    I can’t wait for the day when I use my voice to do all that.

    Oh wait.. I can’t wait for the day when I can entrust all these mundane things to machines completely, so I can enjoy being human and the world outside my window a bit more 😉

    • indeego
    • 8 years ago

    And the first time this is accidentally invoked and you find yourself unable to use the trackpad as mouse pointer is probably the first time you disable it for life.

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