Microsoft Office Labs are always good for a surprise. For anyone who does not know what Microsoft Office Labs is about: It basically is used to publish software programs created by Microsoft employees in their spare time that relate to Microsoft Office products.
Microsoft Touchless (via Shell City) is an interesting application that fits well into the touchscreen craze that Microsoft started with the Windows 7 announcement. Everyone knows that Windows 7 will provide better support for touchscreens in Windows 7. Users without a touchscreen could make use of Touchless which utilizes a webcam to provide a touchscreen-like experience if that is something that is desired.
A Touchless demo can be downloaded from the Office Labs project page which contains four demonstrations. Snake is the well known snake game while Defender offers a up to four player pong experience. Map is a basic map application which supports rotating, zooming and moving while Draw lets the user draw on the screen.
Touchless requires a computer running Windows XP or Windows Vista and a webcam that is DirectX9 compliant. The application can be started by extracting the contents of the archive to the computer system and then with a double-click on the TouchlessDemo.exe file.
Microsoft Touchless provides access to the Touchless SDK which can be used to create third party applications that make use of the system. The whole package is Open-Source and could provide a way to add basic touchscreen support to webcam owners in Windows 7 which would surely explode the number of users that would make use of the Touchscreen features.
Update: The Touchless SDK is now available on Codeplex from where it can be downloaded to the local system. Here you find videos, demos and instructions on how to use the SDK in your own projects.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.