Most of the emphasis on working with multi-touch and alternative controllers has been on our sister site, Create Digital Music. But in a way, visuals are even more demanding of new hardware. After all, musicians have all kinds of hardware that work perfectly for performance (keyboards, knobs, drums, violins, sousaphones, kazoos, and whatnot). But new visual performance media demand something different if they’re to evolve.

Oh yeah, that, and most pro visual apps are kind of a b**** to use with a mouse and aren’t all that much better with a tablet. (Unless you’re somehow discovered the secret and find a Wacom as easy to use as a ballpoint. Please, tell me how.)

That makes this tidbit all the more interesting:

Jazzmutant is proud to have been selected by the Siggraph Emerging Technologies Committee in San Diego to demo a new prototype device for digital imaging involving multi-touch control. This solution will go beyond mere finger-drawing and clearly illustrate a new way to interact and improve productivity with drawing and video editing software. Furthermore, the solution presented will be the very first multi-touch enabled Tablet PC shown to the public.

JazzMutant news

What’s that now? Visual editing on a multi-touch surface? JazzMutant is best known for the creation of the Lemur multi-touch hardware. It wasn’t specifically intended for music, but that’s where it got most attention; you can, incidentally, route its native OSC control to Processing, Max/MSP/Jitter, Pd/GEM, Flash, and so on. But it was pricey (US$2500), and while you could design your own interfaces for it, it wasn’t quite the same as having a computer.

Now we get a one-two punch of tantalizing possibilities: a controller specific to visuals, whatever that may mean, and the possibility of using an actual computer with multi-touch input. I’d love to have that with some of what I’m building with Processing these days for performance. I’m a little more skeptical on the visual hardware side, only because so far that has tended to mean a selection of templates for Lemur-like hardware. But either way, this is promising — we’ll be watching the news out of SIGGRAPH very closely indeed.