Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Samsung calls Apple patents into question with LaunchTile and DiamondTouch table


Samsung started off its case today by going straight at the heart of Apple's utility patents, showing off two software systems with similar functionality that pre-date iOS altogether. Adam Bogue, president of Circle 12, showed off images and video of a projection-based touchscreen surface called the DiamondTouch Table. Developed in 2001 at the Mitsubishi Electronic Research Laboratory (MERL), the DiamondTouch featured two particularly-relevant pieces of software: Fractal Zoom, an application that allowed users to manipulate images using multiple fingers, and Tablecloth.
The latter allows users to pull an image down in a window, revealing a duplicate image right above it; letting go causes the image to snap back to its original position, providing a visual effect that appeared quite similar to Apple's bounce-back effect. The DiamondTouch was easily accessible in the MERL lobby for anyone to access, leaving open the possibility that anyone in Cupertino could have seen the device — in fact, Bogue revealed that he'd even given a demonstration to Apple itself in 2003.

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