in Flash Player

Video of Flash multi-touch on Windows and Mac

Update: You can download the AIR application that I show below if you want to try it out for yourself.

One of the coolest new features in Adobe AIR 2.0 and Flash Player 10.1 is the native support for multi-touch and gestures. If you have an iPhone or other smart phone you are probably already familiar with these types of interactions. I plan on doing a full tutorial on this over at gotoAndLearn, but until then you can check out the video below to see it in action. I show that you can actually use these features using a MacBook Pro if you don’t have access to a touch computer such as the HP TouchSmart.


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  1. Thanks Lee.
    An observation though. I believe the double tapping event is not firing from the touch-pad of your MacBook Pro, because you might be setting the touch-pad to use double finger tap for Secondary Clicks (right click). Why don’t you disable that option and try again?
    Well that is just an assumption, just let me know if that worked after..

    Thanks for the great demo.

  2. The gesture recognition seems to be faster on the mac? It looks like the HP needs some time to “snap in” on the gesture. But nice work nonetheless! Thanks Lee

  3. After having played around with a number of multi touch computers running Windows 7 I noticed they all seem to be a bit laggy. I am wondering how much of that has to do with Windows 7 vs the actually hardware.

    I believe 2010 will be year of the touch tablet computer. We will see Mac OSX and Windows 7 versions… it’s great to see that Adobe is taking this field serious and introducing new features for authoring to those devices.

    Still makes we wonder why the experience I have seen on the Windows 7 multi touch machines was so laggy… especially when I compare to my totally underpowered (in comparison) iPhone.

    Can anyone shed some light on this?

  4. Interesting.

    But can you do multiple manipulations at the same time? For example, pan and zoom at the same time.

    Also, I think you’d be interested to read this blog post by Ron George about the terminology differences between manipulations and gestures. There is a subtle difference that most people don’t know at first, but it really makes sense once you think about it.

  5. @Joshua I think it depends on the device. On the MacBook trackpad I can zoom and rotate at the same time. On the HP you have to lift your fingers and press again to do a new transform.

  6. @tom the touch screen on the HP is not a particularly good one. It is good enough for what I need it for but I’m sure there are others that are more responsive. The HP also only has 2 touch points available.

  7. Lee – Any idea if there is a multitouch monitor that will work under OSX? I’m looking for a testing device, but don’t want to buy a whole new system.

  8. @lee,

    I also tried a Dell multi touch screen and it behaved in a very similar way to the HP screens. I am guessing they might be using the same touch panel. Not sure though.

    I have high hopes for both the Win 7 and Apple touch tablets coming out in late Spring. I am really hoping the Windows tables are as responsive as we can assume the Apple tablet will be.

  9. Lee-

    Thanks for the great demo! In response to Josh’s observation: yes, the multi-touch implementation in Flash is inherently broken. You cannot use multiple simultaneous gestures (e.g. rotate OR scale, not rotate and scale). This leaves the dev platform limited in intuitiveness and usefulness. It’s not an issue with the HP TouchSmart. We develop on that platform, and using our Flash SDK (GestureWorks) we can commit multiple simultaneous manipulations at once. Our feeling here is that 10.1 is an interim band-aid to a true multi-touch Flash solution 12-18 months down the line.

  10. I’d be interested in the answer to John O’s question as well.

    In addition, I was wondering if flash was capable of understanding multi-user/simultaneous gesture inputs. Not just something like one user zooming and rotating, but multiple users manipulating multiple images within one application experience.

  11. @John O,

    There currently isn’t a multitouch monitor on the market that is OSX compatible. All of the new monitors on the market can pass rough click events towards OSX so you can fight your way past a few log in screens but it’s not really usable. I’m using the HP L2105. It’s 1080p and works great on OSX as a standard monitor but when I want to use it for multitouch I boot into Windows 7. Here’s my review of the monitor:


    Multiple objects can dispatch gesture events at the same time. So you can ‘scale up’ an application like this so that multiple people can interact with it at the same time using gesture events.

    The problem with the transform gesture events is that you can’t have simultaneous zoom and rotate which makes using the regular touch events (via windows 7) a little bit more alluring.

  12. I have a Wacom Bamboo and have yet to get it to work with an AIR 2.0 app. I have tried the demos on Adobe’s site, Lee’s demo here, and my quick samples. Wacom has a developer API for the Bamboo, but it’s mainly to develop Bamboo mini widgets.

  13. @Antonio Flash reads those values from the OS and Snow Leopard is a multi-touch OS. The reality is that you will need one of the newer MacBook Pros in order to use it though.

  14. @Bo I have the Bamboo Touch and @sergejespers is correct the device does not send Touch or Gesture Events. Hopefully Bamboo’s driver now that Windows 7 is out will send the correct OS level events to take advantage of such a great price point multi touch device.

  15. Is the Flash player planning on allowing customized gestures?

    For example, would it be possible to create MT gestures similiar to the old palm grafiti? Or Black and White’s gesture based spell casting?

  16. thanks lee for this good news and for all the things you ‘re doing for the flash community

    because i ‘m developing external multitouch classes
    (based on your tutorials and NUI group community work).
    and i was very curious to know how Adobe will respond to multitouch demand

    you could find a video of my flash multitouch app

    thanks again

  17. Thanks for the demo AIR app, Lee. I’ve tested it on a Mac Air and can confirm the pan and zoom gestures work on the trackpad too.

    There does seem to be a slight problem in that you can’t rotate AND zoom at the same time, only one or the other, but at least you can keep your fingers on the pad and change mid-gesture.

    Mac trackpads can respond to double-taps, so I don’t see why Flash Player 10.1 can’t pick them up. Being able to do two-finger scrolls would be very useful as well, that’s become second nature to me when using websites now.

    Will all these muti-touch features be available for the browser version of Flash Player 10.1 as well as AIR?

    Thanks a lot.

  18. oh man!
    of course you can tab with two fingers on the macbook pro’s multi-touch-trackpad, but you need to set the preferences to “secondary click with two fingers”!!!!

  19. Hi

    Anybody knows if will be support for non-OS multi-touch input devices?

    Magic Mouse, Bamboo Touch, for example.
    We need this for world domination.


  20. Hi ya, I just clued into the fact that this doesn’t work in the browser ๐Ÿ˜›

    Unrelated, when I try to install the Gesture.air app, I get an error message saying, “A version of AIR is required that is unavailble to your system.”

    Currently on this generation MacBookPro running OSX 1.6.1 with Air Runtime build 020210.

  21. I’m also getting “A version of AIR is required that is unavailable to your system.” Tried this on Windows Vista and on a Windows7 VM. Latest build was correctly installed 020210. Any ideas why this is?

  22. I am getting this error too! ‘The application requires an update to Adobe AIR that is not available on your system.’ I know I’ve got the latest Air 2 version as I’ve just installed it.

    Would love to finally find a working example of multitouch that will work with my macbook pro!

  23. Hi! thanks for this… I’ve been strugling myself to find a way to allow for multiple users to manipulate different objects at the same time… I am just not able to do this =(. Is it possible? can anybody please shed light on this?? Thanks a lot!!!