More testing is needed before shipping out the Leap Motion controller.
The Leap Motion gesture-based controller has the potential to finally deliver Minority Report-style computing, but we won't find out for sure until at least the middle of July. Leap Motion pre-orders for the flash drive-sized device kicked off in February of this year, and at the time, it was promised the units would be begin shipping out on May 13. With that date fast approaching, Leap Motion's developers thought it best to put push back the release a couple of months so that they can put the controller through some additional testing.
Believe us when we say that we know the Minority Report comparisons are getting stale whenever there's a technology introduced that comes even remotely close. However, it's also never been more appropriate than with new touchless gesture technology from Ellpitic Labs. Using ultrasound technology, Elliptic Labs has designed and launched the first commercial application of touchless gestures for Windows 8.
TIE Fighter is the single greatest game ever created; that fact is undeniable, so let’s not even bother trying to address it in a flurry of comments to this post. Case closed.
The problem? This is 2010. TIE Fighter came out in 1994. We’ve seen great changes in the computing industry within that sixteen-year gap: The growth of the multi-core platform. The death of the space-sim genre. And the uber-death of those strange contraptions called, “joysticks,” which one would use in said space games to fly about and rip things up with lasers or what-have-you.
Do I plan to go out and purchase a joystick just to play a sixteen-year old title? Or, for that matter, any game in the space-sim (or racing!) genre that requires such a device? No. That would require effort and money. And why should you invest those in a retail product when applications like PPJoy can give you exactly what you need to play such titles using the very devices that already sit at your fingertips!
Forget about traditional touchscreen displays, laser keyboards, and gesture-based controls. None of those have the same wacky sci-fi appeal as "Skinput," the new self-touch input method Carnegie Mellon University and Microsoft are tag teaming.
Skinput is essentially a touchscreen interface for your flesh, but don't worry, it doesn't require any surgery or limb replacements. Instead, a microchip-sized pico projector beams images onto your skin. When you tap on these, the signals get picked up by the special armband equipped with a bio-acoustic sensing array built into it.
"We resolve the location of finger taps in the arm and hand by analyzing mechanical vibrations to propagate through the body," the research team states in their abstract. "We collect these signals using a novel array of sensors worn as an armband.This approach provides an always available, naturally portable, and on-body finger input system."
The armband contains five piezoelectric cantilevers, each one weighted to respond to certain bands of sound frequencies. A different combination of sensors are triggered depending on where you tap yourself.
During the TEDIndia conference, Pranav Mistry, inventor of SixthSense, a wearable device that enables new interactions between the real world and world of data, demoed several gesture control concepts and posted a video for all to see.
Among the concepts is an ultrasonic pen capable of drawing in three-dimension using IR LEDs and and an ultrasonic receiver. While not of interest to the average user, something like this could be a boon to architectures and engineers working on cutting edge designs.
But it's the augmented reality portion of the video that drew applause from the crowd. Armed with a tiny camera that acts as a digital eye, Mistry demonstrated how it's possible to take a picture just simulating the gesture of snapping a photo without a digital camera in his hand.
"I'm more excited that you can actually take it outside. Rather than getting your camera out of your pocket, you can just do the gesture of taking a photo and it takes a photo for you," Mistry said.
Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group plans to present a paper on five different touch-sensitive mice prototypes during this week's User Interface Software and Technology Conferences in British Columbia, Canada.
With Windows 7 touting mutlitouch capabilities, this could be Microsoft's way appealing to the majority of users who don't own a touchscreen display. But don't expect to see all five designs come to fruition - it's much more likely that the five prototypes would end up being whittled down to one or two products.
FTIR (Frustrated Total Internal Reflection) Mouse
This prototype uses the principle of frustrated total internal reflection and has a built-in-camera to sense user's touches on top o an arc-shaped piece of acrylic.
Hit the jump to see all the prototypes and tell us which one you like best.
A KVM switch sounds like it has the potential to be a complicated piece of hardware. It's not. Without this most charitable of devices, you wouldn't be able to make use of more than one computer with a single keyboard and mouse. Your desk would be cluttered with input devices of all shapes and sizes, your ambitions of multi-boxing your own 40-man World of Warcraft raid would be dashed, and you wouldn't be able to slack off at your place of business nearly as discretely. After all, the entire point of a KVM switch is that it requires some kind of physical response--like whacking a button on the device--to switch a set of input devices between different desktops connected to the switch.
Why does this matter? Well, I don't have a KVM switch, but I do use a piece of software that's just as good: Synergy. This little open-source app has been my virtual KVM switch of choice for awhile now, but its time is just as quickly fading into the limelight. A new sheriff is in town, and he goes by the name of Input Director. Both programs allow you to control multiple, independent desktops (or laptops) using a single keyboard and mouse sans any "switching over" whatsoever--it's as if you just have a giant, spanned desktop across your systems.
Since Synergy has been at the top of everyone's must-have lists for some time (including Will's!), I thought it might be prudent to walk through the additional benefits and heartwarming fixes that Input Director brings to the party. Click the jump and find out how this free application will transform your multi-computer life for the better.
We're not sure what to make of Moixa's 'Sphere' I/O interface device, for which the company was recently awarded a patent. Moixa describes the device as an "apple sized multi-touch sphere that can be used to display the world (e.g. Google Earth), browse web pages, or control interactive games." Sounds intriguing.
Moixa says the device also weighs about the same as an apple, and can be collapsed to be either used or stored in its second form. This could change, of course, as the concept remains in render form, just as Art.Lebedev's OLED keyboard did before a shipping product finally emerged.
"In the future, phones and portable computing devices reduce to input/output and power. Sphere reinvents the look and feel of the advanced portable device as we rely more on services, memory and mapping stored on the web," commented Simon Daniel, Moixa founder.
Anyone see this concept becoming an actual product? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.