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Mobile Touch at Microsoft Research October 31, 2006

Posted by reto wettach in innovative interfaces, mobile, physical interaction design.
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Last week I had the chance to listen to Patrick Baudisch from Microsoft Research. At the Technical University in Berlin he gave a talk on “making sense on small screens” (slides). Within his talk he introduced his “summary thumbnail”, something like semantic zooming: Patrick developed an algorithm, which would scale down web-sites to the size of the screen on mobile phones, still keeping the most important fragments of the text readable.

Patrick also talked about SOAP, a – as he said – very personal research project. He developed a “a mouse-like pointing device that works in mid-air”. His project is based on the observation that – when buying a mouse – we actually only purchase half of a pointing device: the other half is the surface, which is needed to operate a mouse.
SOAP is basically the technology of a wireless infrared mouse put into a sock: the user can move this sock or skin over the internal technology containing object, which has the shape of a soap.  In the discussion afterwards somebody said that it reminded of playing with a foreskin. An interesting, but true statement.


Touch for Mobiles – Update October 31, 2006

Posted by reto wettach in innovative interfaces, mobile, physical interaction design.

Touchsensitive areas or screens are one of the hot directions for mobile interaction.

Not too new, but still interesting is Sony’s concept of Pre-Sense (Rekimoto, Ishizawa, Schwesig, et. al., 2003) , which basically combines a touch-pad with keys. Amongst other features, this technology allows interfaces, which are showing the user, what will happen, if he presses the key.

Quite similar is a the phone PG2800 by the Korean company PanTech: This phone can recongnize finger writing on top of the keys.

Another quite new patent is looking in using touch area surrounding the screen: Apple just filed this patent, which descibes an Electronic Device Having Display and Surrounding Touch Sensitive Bezel for User Interface and Control.
Through these interaction principles, the screen area will not be disturbed by some interacting fingers. Furthermore the screen might not get dirty of scratches through being used as an interface. (via hrmpf).