Fed up with using a keyboard and mouse on your laptop? Then an Israeli start up could have the answer: a new technology that allows you to operate your computer with a special pen and zero-pressure finger touch.
DuoSense, developed by Kfar Saba based N-trig, has already been purchased by US computer giant Dell, which is installing it on its new Latitude XT tablet computer. Launched last week, the Latitude XT should reach the market any day now.
There are many tablet computers already available, but these only offer a special stylus that includes a hand writing recognition feature and allows you to write directly into the computer. Using DuoSense, Dell will be the first company to provide capacitive touch technology alongside the pen.
DuoSense technology allows users to seamlessly switch between pen and touch input, much as they do today with PDAs. To enter any program, the user simply touches the relevant graphic icon on the screen. You can go through documents, make notes, highlight items, check your emails, surf the Net, and either enter the URL address of a site by touch, or with N-trig’s stylus. There is no need to type. To access on-screen picture albums all you do is press twice on a picture to open it. The picture can then be manipulated with the fingertip, reduced or enlarged in size and moved from place to place. And if you’ve got time, you can even play games.
“DuoSense technology is going to change the way users interact with their notebook computers, and we’re continually hearing from people that say once they try it, they can’t go back,” said N-trig CEO Amihai Ben-David.
N-trig was founded as Game Along in 1999 by Dr. Meir Morag, now the company’s president. Game Along’s original goal was to transform the flat computer screen into a game board, but after a bumpy start as the recession of 2000 hit the high tech industry, the company decided to change its name and its direction.
By 2006, development of the pen and touch technology was well underway and Dell, which was looking for an entry into the tablet computer niche, signed a cooperation agreement with N-trig.
“We didn’t sign agreements with other computer companies because cooperation with Dell became so cardinal,” Ben-David, told Globes, Israel’s financial daily. “This is a huge project for a company embarking on its first sales.”
N-trig estimates that Dell will sell between 200,000 to 300,000 Latitude XT computers, which cost from $2,499, and anticipates that its own revenues in the first year are likely to be between $35-45 million.
Investors in N-trig, which now has offices in Austin, Texas, and Taiwan, include Aurum Ventures MKI, an investment firm owned by Morris Kahn. N-trig is now in negotiations with additional computer companies and plans in coming years to develop new versions of its technology for other platforms, such as handheld computers and cellphones.