What is was FingerWorks?
) was a company that manufactured special touchpads
. Not ordinary
ones like you know from laptops; those can only understand one finger at a time. Now, imagine if you made a touchpad that can understand ten
fingers simultaneously, then you could add all kinds of simple and cool gestures! And that
is what FingerWorks
invented and manufactured -- until Apple bought and closed the business.
The idea is to have a large touchpad (the size of a regular mouse mat) that can sense how many fingers you use, and which fingers you use. You can use the touchpads for mousing of course, but by using more fingers you can even make many different gestures to perform nifty operations like copy/paste or open/save/close/new, bold/italic, home/end/page-up/page-down, cursor scrolling, and so on and on.
The surface also has special hotspots that act as normal keyboard keys; touch these and it's like typing on a normal keyboard! Use one finger
to hit a key, two fingers
to use the mouse, and two or more fingers
to make gestures.
They have made a handful of different products based on this concept.
First, the iGesture Pad
is simply a mousepad-sized touchpad that can be used for mousing and gestures.
Second, the iGesture NumPad
does the same but in addition has a numerical keypad printed on the surface that you can also use. You use it like the regular iGesture Pad but if you use just one finger to touch a "key" then that key is typed.
Next came the TouchStream Mini
keyboard (later called the iGesture Mini
keyboard) is essentially identical to the iGesture NumPad?
, it just has more "key" areas and is usable as a small single-handed keyboard replacement.
Fourth, the TouchStream Stealth
(also referred to as the TouchStream ST
) is essentially made of two
regular iGesture touchpads connected together with a keyboard printed on it so that you get a two-handed surface. You can do gestures on either side and use the whole as a split-keyboard. It was mounted on a metal tent stand to maintain a specific pronated hand position. ("ST" and "Stealth" are not known to have any particular meaning.)
Fifth was the TouchStream LP
, which was essentially identical to the TouchStream Stealth
, except it was detached from the metal tent stand. This allowed users to easily transport it and use it on top of the existing keyboards on laptops. The connection between the two pads
have proved to be an Achilles' heel to the keyboard - repeated bending of this ribbon cable has lead to connectivity problems. It is now generally advised not to transport the keyboard, as it might break and no repair facility exists. Self-repairs are possible if you are handy. ("LP" is not known to have any particular meaning except "low profile" because it can lay flat on the desk, but this is not an ergonomic or even a practical placement.)
The last product was the TouchStream MacNTouch
. This keyboard was originally designed to replace the built-in keyboard in the Apple Titanium PowerBook. It was later modified to fit the newer Aluminum PowerBooks - this later version would also fit the white iBooks of the same era. Sadly, Apple changed the new models so that the MacNTouch can't be installed in newer Apple laptops.