By Jeff Han's description, he was "one of those troublemaker kids." Five years ahead in math learning levels. A soldering iron in hand at age 6. Taking things apart to see how they worked. Even putting some of them back together.
Han, 32, was an obscure New York University computer-science researcher two years ago when he made a presentation introducing the concept of multi-touch sensing screens. Now his work is coveted by clients ranging from the CIA to CNN, all of which realize that the era of the single-touch screen (think ATMs) is over and the multi-touch screen (imagine a piano keyboard on a screen) is upon us.
My fingers are part of that new world. Tune in to CNN on any major election night as I navigate the ever-changing map that the folks at CNN call the Magic Wall. CNN owns one map, with a second on the way. The intelligence and military communities use the technology, and Han says new educational, medical and creative applications are in the works.
"Multi-touch-sensing was designed to allow nontechies to do masterful things while allowing power users to be even more virtuosic," Han says. Count me in the nontechie column. Count me too as someone who believes Han has done more than start a great business; he has also dramatically changed the way we interact with our computers.
King is CNN's chief national correspondent and its former senior White House correspondent
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