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Windows Multipoint RTM – use multiple mice and cursors with a WPF app!

June 27, 2007

I just learned about an effort from Microsoft Research building support for multiple input devices (for example, using 2 mice…) from SerialSeb’s (Sebastien Lambla) post.  Searching a bit, I found:

MS PressPass: With Windows MultiPoint, Youths in Developing-World Classrooms Learn 21st-Century Skills

Picture this: In a classroom of 40 children with only four PCs among them, 10 students crowd around each machine. Within each group a dominant student – often the brightest, richest, or oldest child – takes center position and controls the mouse. While other students point, gesture and vie for control of the mouse, they ultimately have no direct control of the PC and often lose interest and shift their attention elsewhere. The child with the mouse is learning on his own, and the others are not learning at all.

According to conventional wisdom, the obvious solution is to buy more PCs, thereby boosting the PC-to-student ratio. Many schools in developing countries, however, simply can’t afford more PCs. And, even with more machines, traditional PC set-ups do not allow for collaborative learning and teamwork.

But what if there was a more creative solution to the problem – one that would give multiple students access to a single PC and simultaneously provide them learning opportunities they would not get if each student had a PC to herself? Enter Windows MultiPoint — a simple, powerful technology enabling multiple users to share a single PC using multiple mice or other peripherals and to learn 21st-century skills in the process. The technology helps shift the student from passive to active learning, and the collaborative environment adds a whole new layer of value to the PC in the classroom.

“MultiPoint helps kids use PCs to learn together versus having an isolated computer experience where they’re each on their own PC. When they are accountable for finding the right answer and clicking on it, their learning goes up exponentially,” says Sherri Bealkowski, general manager for Microsoft’s Emerging Markets Education group. “It helps them learn teamwork, collaboration and computer familiarity – the 21st-century skills that children need to learn, especially children in emerging markets, so that they can be competitive and can help their countries be competitive.”

In addition, MultiPoint offers a more affordable way to decrease student-to-PC ratios, and provides a platform for Windows education software developers to create collaborative learning applications, Bealkowski says.

MultiPoint SDK (WPF based controls, vs template, samples)

  • Issue: on Vista, VS doesn’t like dealing with samples that are in Program Files.  Blend has this same issue, but it has a feature to open the samples, where it creates a copy in a writeable directory.

Channel 9: MultiPoint: What. How. Why.

I didn’t dig into this deeply enough to understand if this allows 2 keyboards…I’d love to have 2 monitors, 2 mice and 2 keyboards on a pc to enable 2 users.  (Update: sounds like multiple keyboards aren’t there yet… Update2: that first update was based on info I heard in the Channel9 interview, which was at the end of 2006…I now see in the SDK a Samples\MultiPointKeyBoardPlugin)

From → WPF

  1. Tanveer permalink

    I guess it should be common knowledge. Raw Input API in Windows allow you to receive input from any number of HIDs. I knew this for ages.

  2. Max permalink

    You suck

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