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.
“Resistive” touchscreens are the type you’re most likely to use in a DIY microcontroller project. These consist of two screen layers coated with a resistive material and separated by a small gap. When touched, the layers make contact, creating a voltage divider circuit. The resulting voltage is easily measured and correlated to position. The top layer of the touchscreen is just a clear overlay, though; what really makes it work is the layer underneath.
There are times when you can't operate your phone--when you're wearing gloves, when your hands are wet, or when you don't have hands. This DIY nose-stylus solves that problem, and only requires that you have a head to strap it around. And a ton of self-confidence.
Home cooks have plenty of gadgets to help them whip up a smoothie or soufflé, but now touchscreens, facial tracking and object-recognition technologies are taking the labor out of a much more mundane chore: food shopping.
Mashing web-based virtual microscopy and a massive multi-touch display surface, Finnish researchers have created a new interface for laboratory science that allows researchers to pan and zoom around a microscope sample via a tabletop or wall-mounted touchscreen, zooming in so close that sub-cellular details can be seen.
Soon, putting a beer on the bar could launch a readout of the brewery’s history, assorted tasting notes, and suggestions for the best barbecue to accompany your pint. In the Samsung SUR40, Microsoft has introduced a svelte touchscreen table that doesn’t just react to pokes and prods; it sees and identifies what’s on it. This ability allows developers to make apps that cater to products or text cues. Here’s how it works:
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.