Since Windows 7, Microsoft's been busily honing the interface for Windows tablets, which uses a bold bunch of squares and rectangles in flat neon colors and has been christened "Metro." Windows 8--undoubtedly the biggest change to the operating system in a few generations--finally brings Metro to the desktop. So how does it work with a keyboard and mouse?
Microsoft's Research department is always coming up with cool new ways to interact with gadgets, and this newly released video of the "Holodesk" is definitely one of the cooler ones. It uses a Kinect ("hacked" doesn't seem really correct when it's a Microsoft project) to see your hands and face, and allows you to juggle completely virtual 3-D objects--balance a virtual ball on a book, then tip it into a bowl of water, or stack virtual 3-D blocks. It's pretty amazing.
Researchers at the National University of Singapore are enhancing robots’ sense of touch by mimicking the ridged and contoured surfaces of human fingertips. Fingerprints, it turns out, don’t just give humans better grip but also carry out a sensitive type of signal processing. By imparting that same kind of signal processing to robots, we could reduce the processing loads to robots’ CPUs and help them better identify objects through their shapes.
Researchers at Georgia Tech have found that a little vibration goes a long way toward upping a person’s sense of touch. Using a glove of their own design, they’ve found that they can heighten tactile sensitivity by applying a small, high-frequency vibration to the side of the fingertip.
Human skin is primed for touch — even minuscule pressure from a fly is enough to make you flinch. This ability does not yet extend to artificial limbs, however, and robots are a long way from having sensitive tactile abilities.
Now two California research teams have announced pressure-sensitive artificial skin made of tiny circuits, both of which could lead to better artificial limbs and helper robots.
Whether they are assisting the elderly, or simply popping human skulls like ripe fruit, robots aren't usually known for their light touch. And while this may be fine as long as they stay relegated to cleaning floors and assembling cars, as robots perform more tasks that put them in contact with human flesh, be it surgery or helping the blind, their touch sensitivity becomes increasingly important.
We're all more or less used to navigating with touch -- the iPhone a recent landslide of multitouch-enabled laptops have pretty much seen to that. (Not to mention the forthcoming Windows 7, which is the first OS to natively support touch.) Falling into line, Wacom today intro'ed new graphics tablets that will let you add touch to any PC or Mac.
We're all more or less used to navigating with touch -- the iPhone a recent landslide of multitouch-enabled laptops have pretty much seen to that. (Not to mention the forthcoming Windows 7, which is the first major computer OS to natively support multitouch screens.) Falling into line, Wacom today intro'ed new graphics tablets that will let you add touch to any PC or Mac.
By Steve Morgenstern
Posted 03.10.2008 at 4:46 pm 4 Comments
Touch-screen interfaces have an inherent problem—you can't see through your fingertips to see the spot you're trying to touch. After abandoning its controversial efforts to breed humans with transparent fingers, Microsoft came up with another novel solution, a system that lets you touch the back of a device and see an overlay of virtual fingertips on the front display.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.