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Input Visualizer

You can use the Microsoft Surface Input Visualizer tool to see the touch input data that the interactive surface device returns in the context of your application. This tool runs on top of your application and displays information about the touch points that the input system detects.

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

  • Accidental input   Accidental activation of Surface controls from palms, forearms, and other objects will cause visualizer data to appear.

  • Input tracking   Determine what gestures are lost as touch input when users are dragging content in Surface applications. You can use the Trails On 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, removing touch inputs, and seeing where the centers of touch inputs are reported.

  • Report monitor tilt   Determine the tilt angle that is being reported by your interactive surface hardware. If your development hardware does not report monitor tilt, you can use Input Simulator to simulate a tilt angle.

Input Visualizer is installed with the Surface SDK and runs on devices made for Surface and on Windows Touch computers. If you are developing on a separate Windows 7 workstation, you can use Input Simulator to provide the touch input.

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

Input Visualizer - On XNA Scatter app

Input Visualizer running over the XNA Scatter sample application

Running Input Visualizer

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

  • Input Visualizer reacts only to touch input. If you are developing on a computer that is not touch-enabled, use Input Simulator to provide the touch input.

  • You can use Input Visualizer on Surface applications that use the Presentation layer or the Core layer, or you can use Input Simulator on any touch-enabled Windows 7 application.

  • Input Visualizer does not connect to or change the use of the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 debugger.

To start Input Visualizer on a Surface unit, click Start, click All Programs, click Microsoft Surface 2.0 SDK, click Tools, and then click Input Visualizer.

Input Visualizer - Start menu

Input Visualizer on the Start menu

Touch Data in Input Visualizer

Input Visualizer displays data about touch devices. A shape identifies the type of touch input 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 input and an identifier that is unique to each input. This identifier is the Id property in Core layer applications, and the Id property in Presentation layer applications.

For tag input, Input Visualizer also reports the four properties that make up the tag value: Value, Series, Schema, and ExtendedValue. For information about these properties, see Tagged Object Recognition.

Input Visualizer - Contact data

Input Visualizer touch input data

Input Visualizer Control Panel

When you run Input Visualizer, a floating user interface (UI) appears on the screen with three buttons.

Input Visualizer - Control panel

Input Visualizer UI

From top to bottom, the three buttons are:

  • Close button   The Close button exits Input Visualizer.

  • Frozen/ Unfrozen toggle button   Typically, when you lift or remove a touch point, the data that is displayed by Input Visualizer slowly fades. When Input Visualizer data is Frozen, the data remains on the screen until you toggle to Unfrozen.

  • Trails On / Trails Off toggle button   Typically, Input Visualizer draws a line as you move a contact across the screen, indicating where the touch point has been. When Input Visualizer is set to Trails Off, Input Visualizer does not draw a line. You can toggle to Trails On to display the line again.

At the bottom of the Input Visualizer UI, you can view the Monitor Tilt angle being reported by your interactive surface hardware. If your hardware is unable to report monitor tilt, Surface assumes that your application is running on a desktop computer monitor at a tilt angle of 90 degrees (vertical). You can test your application with different tilt values using Input Simulator.

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