Music and finger painting with simultaneous, multi-person interface

Singing Fingers provides a great example of how multiple people can use the same touchscreen simultaneously to create a different and more sociable user experience. The video below demonstrates:

Developed by Eric Rosenbaum and Jay Silver at MIT’s Media Lab, Singing Fingers allows users to record sounds as they paint on the virtual canvas. The sounds can then be replayed by touching the relevant painted areas – it works with one person on their own, but is more fun when several people are all interacting with the canvas at the same time.

It is a free application, available in the Apple iOS App Store. See the Singing Fingers web-site for more info.

We’ve been thinking a lot about this subject ahead of the next MEX event in London on 30 Nov – 01 Dec. MEX Pathway #3 is entitled: ‘Develop interface designs for multi-person, simultaneous use of touchscreens‘, bringing into question a fundamental principle of mobile UI design – that existing interfaces are typically designed on the premise of single person usage.

The topic will be addressed at MEX by Kate Ho, founder of Interface3, an agency specialising in the design of simultaneous multi-touch applications for table-style devices such as Microsoft’s Surface. She’ll be looking at what lessons can be learned from this area and how mobile simultaneous interfaces differ. Kate is also one of the team leaders for the MEX breakout sessions.

Another speaker on this subject will be Ben Scott-Robinson, a former MEX Innovator of the Year (2008) and now Creative Director for agency We Love Mobile. He’ll be looking at how children interact with these kind of interfaces, as well as leading a MEX breakout team of his own.

(Thanks to Andrew Muir Wood, another of our MEX speakers, for the link).

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