Years ago, we had a video store in my hometown that was equipped with a gigantic video wall. Like any decent late 80’s or early 90’s video store, the wall constantly played music videos for whatever the latest tunes were, along with flashy movie trailers. I don’t know about you, but I always disliked the big CRT screens used for such walls, as they left huge gaps in the picture – rendering it practically useless to watch.
Interestingly, engineers at theTokyo University of Technology recently unveiled what is being called the Pinch interface, which is capabale of creating video walls from a variety of mobile devices. As cool as the Pinch interface is, I don’t see any usefulness outside of sheer novelty – especially considering the massive gaps that make the image worthless for people wanting to watch video.
Right now, the Pinch interface only works for iOS devices, with the video showing what appears to be various iPhones and an iPad displaying a composite image. The interface uses Wi-Fi to keep the various displays in sync, while recognizing the size and orientation of the screen. While I don’t think there’s much of a future for this for showing video, it could make for some pretty sweet multiplayer gaming functionality.
Fortunately, the University isn’t tying the software down behind patents, as it is actively calling on developers to take Pinch and turn it into useful and interesting products. I particularly like the video showing the phones being rearranged on-the-fly. It’s also rather cool how objects that are interacted with, such as the bouncing balls, are able to accurately move between the screens. Telling the software how and where to share the content requires nothing more than a pinch across the common border between the two devices.