One of the most intriguing developments to come out of the recent ACM Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces Conference is new work from the Brazilian scientist, Katia Vega, who offered up something called “electro-cosmetics”, or the field of research into controlling electronics using cosmetic make-up. Using facial cues the make-up is activated, controlling different electronic devices remotely. And, it doesn’t stop there. Vega is even developing an RFID tagged set of fingernails that can be used to DJ music by moving them through a contained body of water.
Why it’s relevant:
The world of connectivity and wearable technology is changing rapidly. With this new technology, you no longer need a gadget to control a gadget. It’s all about what you wear.
CSR has developed the world’s thinnest wireless touch interface to demonstrate the revolutionary potential of Bluetooth® Smart for computing interfaces. The flexible device, which is less than 0.5 mm thick, turns any area into a touch surface. Combining CSR’s low-power wireless technology with the latest in printable, flexible electronics from Conductive Inkjet Technology and touch screen sensing from Atmel, the device can be used to extend the touch interface of tablets and smartphones.
Supermarket terminal lets you choose your own music to shop to.
New Zealand supermarket Pak ‘N Save is installing the touch terminals at all of its 50 locations, allowing customers to que up music from the supermarkets own database to play while shopping. To avoid misuse of the system, once a song has been selected it can’t be replayed for a couple of hours.
Retailers have been accused by psychologists of pumping out high-tempo music to encourage impulse purchases.
But Jules Lloyd, brand director at Pak ‘n Save’s parent company Foodstuffs, said research showed customers were happier shopping when they were listening to their favourite music.
“And we are all about giving our customers the best experience whilst in store.”
Look Ma - No Hardware!Software Turns Dumb Paper into a Smart Touchscreen
Fujitsu has created a spatially aware Fingerlink Interaction System creates an interactive touchscreen like system using objects in the real world - both flat surfaces like paper and tables but also curved surfaces like books.
In this way - the system takes “dumb” items and makes them “smart”
The system doesn’t use any special hardware, it re-uses an ordinary webcam and a commercial projector. It relies on image processing technology to work its magic.
The video demo shows how you can import information on the paper by selecting areas on the page to import as data.
The system is designed to operate on specific gestures and will not react when you make ordinary motions on the table. The system uses finger height accurately in order to translate touch. The system can also be operated by gesture controls.
Gesture and spatial input for PC and other connected devices have received a lot of press lately with the likes of Thalmic Labs, Leap Motion and the updates from Microsoft for Kinect - but this is the first that I have seen of a company that is attempting to use this type of technology to merge the real world with the digital world outside of a typical screen.
Anticipating how common domestic robots and smart appliances will be in the near future, a group from MIT is attempting to create a simple, universal interface to control the motion of robots taking a spatially-aware approach.
“The “exTouch” extends users interactions on the touchscreen into the real world by enabling spatial control over the object. When the user touches the device on the screen they can change its position and orientation.
Essentially, the user has an app on their tablet which allows them to drag and move around the object on the screen which in turn creates an action on the robot side of things.
The team hopes to create a lexicon for using touch to move items similar to what we are used to using on an iPad e.g. two finger pinch, and rotation etc.
The MIT group behind all of this is called Tangible. The Tangible Media Group, led by Professor Hiroshi Ishii, explores the Tangible Bits vision to seamlessly couple the dual world of bits and atoms by giving physical form to digital information.
The system is very limited right now but has many applications and a lot of potential.
You can learn more about this project or others by Tangible Media Group here.
Vending machines appear to be a platform ripe for new innovation, and Springwise has seen numerous twists on the concept – from beer and wifi dispensers to machines that work only for adults. Now it appears that the next frontier of this market may be vending machines for cabs, with both TaxiTreats and New Orleans Carriage Cab developing ways for passengers to buy products on the move. READ MORE…
Imagine being able to enter a restaurant, sit down and order right away - waiter or not. Well imagine no more - this scenario could become the new normal for eating experiences thanks to the Draqie Touch Table.
Draqie, known for their digital signage and POS services for restaurants and bar staff, is bringing the menu discovery and ordering experience direct to the consumer with the Touch Table. Draqie offers a combination of hardware, software and furniture manufacturing specific for restaurants, halls, and other service establishments to save costs and improve the overall dining experience for their patrons.
What’s interesting about this table is that it only responds to touch and is designed to not respond to cutlery, plates, cups and other eating items.
Touch tables aren’t necessarily a new thing. In fact if you recall Microsoft’s original “Surface” was a touchscreen table when they debuted it in 2007. But of course, this was before the iPhone’s launch and the masses weren’t very familiar with touch interface at that time.
I have been to restaurants where you order from an iPad at the table. The very first time you experience it you can’t help but feel futuristic, even if its really just an iPad you have at home. The menu experience on the tablet is fantastic. You can learn more about items and ingredients which couldn’t have been printed on a traditional menu. In some cases the menu can even recommend items based on your preferences and even allow you to share what you are ordering to your social networks (ok maybe the last one is a little over kill but hey its the future right?!). And of course, ordering is a snap. When you want it you tap and its sent to the kitchen and added to your bill.
It’ll be interesting to see how many restaurants start to use technology like this to change the way we dine and what the overall impact will be on the service industry.