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Input Visualizer

Surface 1.0 SP1

The Input Visualizer tool enables you to see the contact data that the Microsoft Surface Vision System returns in the context of your application. This tool runs on top of your application and displays information about the contacts that the input system detects.

Input Visualizer can help you test and debug the following scenarios:

  • Accidental input: Track the accidental activation of Microsoft Surface controls from palms, forearms, and other objects by seeing when these controls detect contacts.

  • Contact tracking: Determine what gestures are lost as contacts when users are dragging content in Microsoft Surface applications. You can use the fade away feature of Input Visualizer for this type of tracking.

  • Input hit-testing: Investigate where hit-testing occurs by freezing the user interface of Input Visualizer, lifting contacts, and seeing where their centers are reported.

Input Visualizer is installed with the Microsoft Surface SDK and runs only on Microsoft Surface units. If you are developing on a separate workstation, Surface Simulator provides contact visuals, reducing how much you need a visual representation of input.

The following illustration shows Input Visualizer running over the XNA Scatter sample application.

Input Visualizer - On XNA Scatter app

Running Input Visualizer

Before you start using Input Visualizer, note the following facts:

  • You must be running Surface Input for Input Visualizer to display contact information.

  • You can use Input Visualizer on Microsoft Surface applications that use the Presentation layer or the Core layer and by itself.

  • Input Visualizer does not connect to or change the use of the Microsoft Visual Studio debugger in any way.

To start Input Visualizer on a Microsoft Surface unit, click Start, click All Programs, click Microsoft Surface SDK 1.0 SP1, click Tools, and then click Input Visualizer.

Input Visualizer - Start menu

Contact Data in Input Visualizer

Input Visualizer displays data about the contacts on a Microsoft Surface unit. A shape identifies the type of contact that is recognized:

  • Finger contacts display a semicircle that is roughly the size of the surface area of the contact.

  • Tagged objects display a square and the value of the tag data.

  • Generic blob objects display an ellipse that is approximately the size of the object.

Input Visualizer also shows an arrow to indicate the orientation of the contact and an identifier that is unique to each contact. This identifier is the Contact.Id property.

Input Visualizer - Contact data

Input Visualizer Control Panel

When you run Input Visualizer, a floating control panel appears on the Microsoft Surface screen with three buttons.

Input Visualizer - Control panel

From top to bottom, the three buttons are:

  • freeze / unfreeze: Typically, when you lift a contact from a Microsoft Surface unit, the data that is displayed by Input Visualizer slowly fades. When you press the freeze button, the Input Visualizer data remains on the screen until you press unfreeze.

  • hide trails / show trails: Typically, Input Visualizer draws a line as you move a contact across the Microsoft Surface screen, indicating where the contact has been. When you press the hide trails button, Input Visualizer does not draw a line. You can press show trails to display the line again.

  • Close: The Close button exits Input Visualizer.

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