Bill Buxton demonstrates "The Active Desk," a touch-screen device developed in 1992 at the University of Toronto. Buxton explains: "It used rear projection, and had a high-resolution stylus for input. What is easy to miss in the photo is the fact that I am working with two remote collaborators. Each has a presence by way of a small camera/monitor/speaker/microphone [you can see one in the photo]. The idea was that all three of us had a shared view of the design that I am shown working on. Fundamental to the idea, contrary to most desktop video, is that there should be a differentiation between person space and task space. Stated more simply, your face should not appear on the same surface as my work."
Editor's note: This image gallery accompanies our story Give your computer the finger: Touch-screen tech comes of age. Please click through to that story for the more information about touch technologies.