Pay attention, mobile-makers; Microsoft is showing off a new technology called SideSight at the User Interface Software and Technology conference in Monterey. SideSight allows for a mobile, touch-screen device with a twist: you don’t have to touch the screen.
Instead, the phone is controlled by moving your fingers in the space on either side of the device—essentially expanding the interface real estate greatly over a traditional touch screen. By moving your hands around the outside of the prototype SideSight device, objects and images on the screen can be rotated and manipulated, and text and pages can be scrolled through.
SideSight detects motion with an array of ten infrared proximity sensors lined up along each side. The prototype also features a smaller, traditional touch screen, allowing a user to write on the screen with a stylus in one hand, while moving the “page” by moving the other hand beside the device, simulating the way people write with a pen and paper.
Is this technology just a gimmick, or are we seeing the future of mobile devices? Give us your thoughts after the jump.
If Dell's Latitude XT Tablet PC is any indication, expect a few growing pains as multi-touch technology moves into the mainstream. More than a few users have voiced displeasure with the Latitude's N-Trig digitizer. Tablet PC and mobile PC news site GottaBeMobile.com has been particularly vocal about the as-yet unresolved quirks.
"More times than not, whenever I reboot, I’ll get N-Trig digitizer not found errors or applet loading errors," writes Rob Bushway, Editor-in-Chief for GottaBeMobile, "which render the auto and dual mode useless. The digitizer will only start working again after consecutive reboots. In addition, I still have problems coming out of standby with the digitizer accidentally clicking items while the pen is just hovering. In addition to the digitizer issues, I still have a recurring problem with my wireless card - it’ll just stop working and the only thing that will turn it back on is a reboot."
Bushway goes on to claim that he's worked with Dell engineering support to come up with solutions to no avail, with Dell reassuring him the company is working on a resolution. But Bushway's most frustrated by the lack of public acknowledgment from both Dell and N-Trig that problems exist.
Any Latitude XT Tablet PC users out there suffering similar woes? Hit the jump and sound off.
Hollywood has been on the touch computing bandwagon long before Microsoft debuted its surface technology, and while we may never see a computer like the one Tom Cruise used in Minority Report to hunt down future criminals, or be engulfed in a virtual holographic cone like Michael Douglas in Disclosure, we are starting to see some real life groovy demonstrations of the emerging technology.
The newest example comes from the high tech marketing gurus at Obscura Digital, who recently showed off its VisionAire project. On its blog, Obscura describes the artsy demonstration as "our standard multi-touch framework [integrated] with the Musion system we have in house," but instead of actually touching anything, the presenter gestures in mid-air to control the windows and objects seen floating around.
Catch the video here, then fire up your Wii to be reminded how far the technology still has to go before being ready for home use.
The company began shipping the XT tablet sans any multi-touch in December, 2007 but with an assurance that the feature would be added at a later time. It is very strange how some websites are highlighting the fact that the update is free. They shouldn’t forget that Dell hasn’t done a terrific job justifying XT’s exorbitant price – prime example of thickly veiled language – and the unavailability of the tablet’s purported forte for 6 months after launch implies that the company owes a favor or two to XT owners.
Some things are so obvious that one completely ignores them and the computer mouse is one of them. However, Gartner analyst Steve Prentice still managed to turn his attention to the generic device – maybe for the lack of a better subject of attention - and came up with an ominously titled paper “Gestural Computing: The End of the Mouse”. He has sounded the death knell for the mouse. But you will need to read further to know why the computer mouse is steadily scrolling towards its grave.