Microsoft WritLarge is a prototype whiteboard with both pen and multi-touch support

WritLarge is a freeform canvas prototype system for early-stage design on electronic whiteboards with pen+touch input from Microsoft Research team for the 84″ Microsoft Surface Hub.

WritLarge will bring free-flowing, close-at-hand techniques to afford unification of selection and action via bimanual pen+touch interaction. To address selection, the team designed a lightweight, integrated, and fast way for users to indicate scope, called the Zoom-Catcher.

According to the Microsoft Research team,

Using multi-touch, the content creator can simply frame a portion of their ‘whiteboard’ session between thumb and forefinger and then act on such a selection (such as by copying, sharing, organizing, or otherwise transforming the content) using the pen wielded by the opposite hand.

The pen and touch inputs thereby complement one another to afford a completely new—and completely natural—way of using freeform content to “ink at the speed of thought” on Microsoft’s line of Surface devices.

The company is also working to bring such feature support to modern tablets. Microsoft Research team posted,

Modern tablets support simultaneous pen and touch input, but it remains unclear how to best leverage this capability for bimanual input when the nonpreferred hand holds the tablet. We explore Thumb + Pen interactions that support simultaneous pen and touch interaction, with both hands, in such situations. Our approach engages the thumb of the device-holding hand, such that the thumb interacts with the touch screen in an indirect manner, thereby complementing the direct input provided by the preferred hand.

For instance, the thumb can determine how pen actions (articulated with the opposite hand) are interpreted. Alternatively, the pen can point at an object, while the thumb manipulates one or more of its parameters through indirect touch. Our techniques integrate concepts in a novel way that derive from marking menus, spring-loaded models, indirect input, and multi-touch conventions.

More details here.