“At one point, John Elias and Wayne Westerman were happy to be thrilling a few wide-eyed students in Newark classrooms with their electronic gadgets,” Eric Ruth reports for The News Journal (DelawareOnline).

Ruth reports, “Today, the researchers who once worked together at the University of Delaware are the subject of global speculation, the objects of geeky adoration, and apparently are positioned nicely on the next wave of high-tech development.”

Ruth reports, “The technology they developed a few years ago at UD is now — in the opinion of former co-workers and enlightened strangers alike — helping to drive Apple Co.’s key breakthrough in its new iPhone. The pair have left behind their class schedules, sold the company they founded, and been hired to work in the secretive California headquarters of Apple itself, suddenly elevated from the staid halls of academia to the cutting edge of multibillion-dollar business.”

“In the meantime, the ripples created by their advances in technology continue to reverberate even outside of Apple, sustaining an excitement and a demand for the products they created, long after their company closed and the technology fell into Apple’s hands,” Ruth reports.

“Westerman and Elias say that confidentiality agreements prevent them from commenting on any multi-touch technology connection between FingerWorks and the iPhone… There is no confirmation from Apple that the technology the pair invented is being used in the iPhone, but there is plenty of circumstantial evidence in the minds of the faithful. Westerman and Elias started working for Apple soon after closing FingerWorks, and a recent lawsuit in Maryland’s District Court against Apple over the technology includes FingerWorks as a co-defendant.”

“‘FingerWorks was bought by Apple about a year and a half ago,’ said Joseph J. Zito, an attorney representing the British firm Quantum Technology in its suit against FingerWorks and Apple over motion-sending technology,” Ruth reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Turano” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Researchers have bigger plans for ‘multi-touch’ beyond Apple’s iPhone – January 19, 2007
Video of how Apple’s rumored touch-screen Tablet Mac could work – February 13, 2006