For people who like the Microsoft Kinect but also the simple joys of nature, the dream makers at Disney Research have just smashed together that particular peanut butter and chocolate into a magical (and very, deeply strange) new technology: plants that can register movements like a touchscreen, then display those movements, or use them to interact with an electronic device.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research, which is the lab arm of the Disney Company that focuses on computer animation and interactivity, among other things, have worked out a new version of capacitive sensors--the same sensors used in modern smartphones and tablets. This version is able to detect touch in much more detail, like identifying which finger you've used to tap it.
A new wearable projection system can turn any surface into an ad-hoc interactive touchscreen, from the palm of your hand to an entire wall. It combines a mini projector combined with a Kinect-type camera to capture a user’s interaction with a virtual screen.
Today at an event in New York City (which we live-tweeted--check out @PopSci for more), Amazon announced its new family of Kindles, and it's probably the biggest, or at least most visible, update in the line's history. The three new "traditional" Kindles continue Amazon's trend of "cheaper and smaller," including two touch-based Kindles (one Wi-Fi-only and one 3G-enabled) and one ridiculously cheap non-touch version.
Yesterday, the MTA (the transit organization that covers New York City and its immediately surrounding area) unveiled the very first On the Go Travel Station, a 47-inch touchscreen installed in certain subway stations that provides to-the-minute updates on inevitable delays, as well as a subway map and a trip planner. I went down to the Bowling Green station to try out this first installation.