In computing, multi-touch is technology that enables a surface (a trackpad or touchscreen) to recognize the presence of more than one point of contact with the surface. The origins of multitouch began at CERN, MIT, University of Toronto, Carnegie Mellon University and Bell Labs in the 1970s. Multi-touch was in use as early as 1985. Apple popularized the term "multi-touch" in 2007. Plural-point awareness may be used to implement additional functionality, such as pinch to zoom or to activate certain subroutines attached to predefined gestures.
The two different uses of the term resulted from the quick developments in this field, and many companies using the term to market older technology which is called gesture-enhanced single-touch or several other terms by other companies and researchers. Several other similar or related terms attempt to differentiate between whether a device can exactly determine or only approximate the location of different points of contact to further differentiate between the various technological capabilities, but they are often used as synonyms in marketing.
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