The mouse is that pointing device used to make easier work with a graphic environment in a computer. Despite that was designed 45 years ago by scientists of the University of Stanford and although its intensive utilisation uses to cause diseases such as carpal tunnel syndrome, it continues being nowadays an indispensable device to work with personal computers in a comfortable way.
A complete range of alternatives have been appearing: built-in trackpads in laptop computers, touch screens, speech recognition, etc.. After all, there is nothing more precise than a good mouse…
A pair of products have lately appeared on the market which may cause a mouse´s gradual lack of use:
Ractiv company launched a new device which converts any surface into a multitouch 3D interface.
Haptix, that´s the name of the device, is a Kickstarter venture aiming to balance tactile screens and the traditional keyboard/mouse set in order to be comfortable and intuitive. It is compatible with displays of devices like laptops computers and TV and can be used to create a virtual touch panel or keyboard, in order even to capture movements in activities such as painting by means of an authentic pencil.
The device works by means of two CMOS image sensors which capture the position of hands with a 640×360 resolution, plugged in to a microprocessor with a cable.
Haptix is not the first system by gesture control. Leap motion, for example, is a driver that allows users to execute commands on the computer display by movements with hands. But Darren Lim, one of its creators, said: “Unlike Leap Motion, Haptix doesn´t depends on infrareds, what means that may be used under any lighting conditions and reflective surfaces”.
Anyway, we have also tested Leap Motion and it is not a panacea.
Lim also named “mouse killer” to his creation, since he explained that its technology allows users to move, slide with a finger for zoom and select elements by clicking on any transformed surface, as well as providing a tactile feedback, making possible that users see their fingers on the screen before the touch the surface, among other features.
The project quickly collected more than 100.000$ in Kickstarter, a crowdfunding web site for creative projects. The sale price will be about 70$.
The second project, no named yet, is by Ubi Interactive company, and is about a software allowing to use any surface in the same way than a tactile screen.
Corporate responsible say that the aim is to “create a more interactive world” and explains that what they look for is human communication and information to be “one finger away, no matter where you are”. As they say, using any surface as screen brings great benefits, “the need of hardware displays disappears and, for that reason, costs are cut and increases the possibilities to set our interactive ones in places where it was no possible before”.
How this technology works is easy to understand: the projector shoots the image towards a specific surface (walls, floors, ceilings, tables, etc.) and Kinect, the Microsoft´s movements driver, tracks the user´s movements so he can interact with the images in the same way than interacting with a tablet.
One interesting feature of this system is that, just as tactile devices, the image can be enlarged. Movements in different surfaces seem to be still a little forced, but this type of software has great potential and in a short term Ubi may launch improvements. To use this system are needed one computer with Ubi application, one projector and one Kinect sensor for Windows.
What do you think?.
Will it improve mouse?.
Sources: Kickstarter, Unocero.
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