Like the fine motor touch over the analog stick that turns your finger into a dead eye, the Microsoft Touch Cover‘s pressure sensitive features are subtle. So subtle, in fact, that the feature was overshadowed by the screen when it was introduced—but the technology indeed opens up pressure senstive games to the tablet arena, Artstechnica reports. The tableted technology should help to deepen our perception of that flat glass screen that has alienated some gadgeteers from their cyber appendages for some years now.
The key to the Touch Cover’s hidden potential as a new form of game control comes in its keyboard’s little-noticed ability to differentiate between various levels of pressure being placed on each key. Microsoft’s Panos Patay points out this feature about 41 minutes into the video of the tablet announcement, highlighting how the Touch Cover is “actually measuring every gram of force coming off my fingertips.”
“I wonder how ‘juicy’ it will feel without the tactile feedback of pressing a button down and hearing that little tap of the key,”Johann Sebastian JoustcreatorDouglas Wilson told Ars. “That kind of kinesthetic and tangible experience is important to making technology ‘feel’ right. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I’ve never been so excited about the smooth glass screen of tablets”
And even if the pressure-sensitive Touch Cover somehow catches the imagination of a critical mass of game designers and players, that doesn’t mean the games that are made for it will be any good. “Looking at other technologies like computer vision, the Kinect, and accelerometers [like] the Wiimote, I think the industry is still having trouble figuring out exactly how best to use them,” Wilson continued. “Speaking from personal experience, it took me years of experimentation to formulate an approach to using motion controllers like the Wiimote/Move.”