I recently had opportunity to lay my fingers onto a Stantum SMK-15.4 Multi-Touch Development Kit. The SMK-15.4 is a TFT panel with a resolution of 1280*800 pixels, which is equipped with a foil that contains a net of transparent capacitors, which can track multiple touches. Thus, the SMK-15.4’s touch principle is similar to the iPhone’s.
I have used it to develop the multi-touch parts of the TUIO-driven Flash multi-touch application Pf Design Media Installation. The SMK-15.4 comes with drivers for Windows and for the Macintosh. Additionally, for Windows there is a small application available that tranlates Stantum multi-touch events into TUIO events that can be (more or less easily) processed by a Flash Actionscript application.
The image quality of the device is not too good. The foil takes away lots of screen brightness and the colors tend to be fairly flat. The SMK-15.4 produces some error blobs quite next to the center of the screen, which bothers a bit. The whole appearence and manufacturing of the device is fairly prototypeish. I would not trust it to be used in an everyday application because the device and the touch foil coating seems to be rather fragile. However, it has been reported by a Stantum engineer that the panel can be equipped with a thin sheet of acrylic glass, which does not prevent touches from being realized. I only tested this with a thin sheet of paper and the tracking worked through the paper smoothly.
The apperance and the performance of the SMK-15.4 can not overcome the impression that the device is still a prototype that I would not use in a productive environment. However, the device has been a hell of a lot helpful to develop, test and debug my multi-touch application and especially tasks that were related to multi-finger input like pinching and rotating.
Thus, multi-touch software developers will have good use of the SMK-15.4. Everyone else should think twice before buying one.
A picture of my setup with the Stantum SMK-15.4 and my MacBook Pro running under Windows Vista:
On the Stantum SMK-15.4 you can see Pf Design Media Installation in this picture.