Synaptics gave the forcepad to more than two dozen academic research groups, which were challenged to come up with novel uses for the device. It's like a touchpad, but in addition to the usual swiping gestures it can sense how much pressure is being applied, adding another dimension for control.
One team, from RWTH Aachen University, created Forceposé, an application that lets Mac users "push" through a stack of overlapping windows, revealing the ones underneath. How far into the stack users go depends on how much pressure they apply to the forcepad.
"We added another dimension into browsing overlapping windows," said Christian Corsten, a researcher at RWTH Aachen University. "Normally when you have a stack of windows you need to move them away to grab a specific window, but [with what we did] you just push through the stack of windows with your finger."
To see the project in action, .
Corsten said the project is different from the Exposé tool in Mac OS X (now called Mission Control) because in that mode, "everything gets smaller and moves to a different position and you notice that you're entering the Exposé mode."