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Handhelds Hardware News

Samsung Launches 3D Movement Recognition Phone 154

Posted by samzenpus
from the shake-that-phone dept.
Shuttertalk reports that Samsung have launched the world's first phone equipped with a continuous 3D movement sensor. Movement sensors in mobile phones to date have been limited to slope calculations and applied to some games and bio-related features. The potential is there to do away with the need for complex keypads on mobile phones, MP3 players, digital cameras and other handheld products. Many functions will be controlled by movement instead of buttons.
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Samsung Launches 3D Movement Recognition Phone

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  • by evilmeow (839786) <evilmeow@gmail.com> on Thursday January 13, 2005 @06:59AM (#11346873)
    *ring ring* Hello! Chen calling. I speak James please! No James here man... Oh! Is this left left right down left right up? What the...
    • by cerberusss (660701) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @08:06AM (#11347103) Homepage Journal
      *up*
      *down*
      *up*
      *down*
      *up*
      *down*
      (Calling my girlfriend)
      *up*
      *down*
      *up*
      *down*
    • At first I thought you chose the old konami code (Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right, B, A, SELECT, Start)

      I was picturing the old school rotary phone motions.

      *spin the phone to the 8*
      *spin the phone back to the original angle*
      *spin the phone to the 4*
      *spin the phone back to the original angle*
      *spin the phone to the 5*
      *spin the phone back to the original angle*
      ...

      Damn I feel old. Let me go watch Three's Company wearing my miami vice shirt and cavaricci jeans while sipping some Quik (not NesQ
  • by spectrokid (660550) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:00AM (#11346878) Homepage
    I was just trying to phone my girlfriend...
  • most cellphones become pen-sized. Because most people were taught to write with a pen.
  • No tactile feedback (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:01AM (#11346884) Journal
    Without tactile feedback, waving fingers in the air and making funny gestures to do things is a waste of time and customers will hate it.

    You can use your optical mouse without it touching the tabletop too, but it isn't at all a reasonable way to operate it.
    • Reading this, I am reminded of the controls to the spaceship Heart of Gold from HHG2G. Mr Adams, you truly were a visionary.
    • agreed (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RMH101 (636144)
      speaking as someone who had a mercury-tilt-switch joystick for their zx spectrum in the 80's, movement with zero feedback is the Worst Thing Ever.

      i like the idea of a pen phone where you dial a number by writing it down though - good for SMS messages, too...

    • Not exactly (Score:3, Insightful)

      by beelsebob (529313)
      I can use my stylus on my graphics tablet without touching it (and in fact have to), and it comes quite naturally because I'm used to hovering a pen above a page. This is simply a case of what you're used to, you're not used to hovering a big heavy optical mouse over the desk, and you're not used to waving your hands arround to make phone calls.
      • Re:Not exactly (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Hognoxious (631665)

        This is simply a case of what you're used to, you're not used to hovering a big heavy optical mouse over the desk, and you're not used to waving your hands arround to make phone calls.

        Maybe I'm not used to hovering a mouse 6 inches above the desk because it's a totally pointless thing to do. What would you use the third dimension for? What's the benefit of the additional effort compared to letting it sit on a surface? And if depth/height does something other than being a pointless gimmick, what about whe

    • Well, I suppose it's a new take on it - instead of waving your hands around in front of the the thing, you wave the thing around. But it's still a solution in search of a problem, and even if it finds a problem (oooh, I don't like using the keypad) there are probably better solutions.
    • It makes me think of the gestures in Black and White. Took me forever to get those down...drawing friggin patterns on the ground to do stuff...bleh.
    • Tactile feedback can be similated by the phone's vibrator.

      There's a game called Mawaru made in Wario [nintendo.co.jp] (sorry, Japanese only) which has a motion sensor and a vibrator built-in. The result is amazingly good.

      • I'm sure any game with a vibrator built in will do well in certain... niche... markets.

        Seriously, we need another word for the thing-a-ma-jig that makes phones/beepers/etc vibrate. I say well call it a buzzer.

    • I'm not impressed by guesture recognition either, but what about visual feedback? Imagine this: a mouse pointer is on the screen, but it stays stationary as you move the screen around it, allowing you to select things. Or the screen acts as a window onto a large image or web page, which stays stationary as you move the phone around to read different parts. The workability of this scheme would depend greatly on very high-quality motion sensing, though. It remains to be seen just how high-quality Samsung'
  • by Aurix (610383) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:03AM (#11346886)
    But what happens when you're in the middle of a tech support call and you slap your hand on your head....? Does the phone know to hang up at this point?
    • Mercifully, yes.

      This brings old memories from the time when I was something of a mix between consultant and support technician. I got the worst of both worlds, but learned a few tricks how to end calls after some odd noises had occured. I came up with so many tricks and used them so frequently so I kept track of which idiot had been hung up using which method. (Ok, so customer_0643 I've already hung up using the "bringing a HDD demagnetizer close to the cell phone"-method, so I guess I just do the "gradual
  • by johnlcallaway (165670) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:04AM (#11346889)
    Let's see ... I can program my phone to only need two keystrokes to get to functions I use the most often, there are nine available but I only have three programmed because that's all I use. All of my most often called numbers are voice enabled, and I don't have to open the phone to take calls on my blue-tooth handset. This new phone lets me can draw numbers in space, althought I cannot imagine that is easier or faster than using the keys. And I can draw 'Y' or 'N' instead of pressing soft keys.

    From what I can tell, the only purpose of this is for games. And we all know how successful they have been combining phones with game systems.

    Move on ... nothing to see here....unless you are a gadget freak and want to buy something that will no longer be offered in 6 months due to a lack of interest.
    • > I can program my phone to only need two keystrokes to get to functions I use
      > the most often

      That's handy...if you have fingers.

      > All of my most often called numbers are voice enabled

      Handy if your voice works.

      > And I can draw 'Y' or 'N' instead of pressing soft keys.

      Handy if you can draw shapes.

      > From what I can tell, the only purpose of this is for games
      > Move on ... nothing to see here.

      Unless you're disabled and would like to use computer equipment by yourself.
    • "Move on ... nothing to see here....unless you are a gadget freak and want to buy something that will no longer be offered in 6 months due to a lack of interest."

      Hey! I have a whole room of n-gages I collected you insensitive clod!

  • by anum (799950)
    I don't know how well it works for navigating setting and such but I see interesting options for game play. I was hoping to see this sort of tech in Nintendo's DS or the Sony PSP.
    Remember all that time we spent as kids playing with plastic boxes and moving BBs aound the maze? I spent hours doing that! Bring this to my phone/handheld, please! I need another way to waste time!
    • Isn't that kinda similar to what the EyeToy for the PS2 does already?
      • First, it sounds like this tech may not quite be ready for prime time gaming.
        Second, I have never used the EyeToy but what I'm looking for is something portable. I want to be able to pull out my [device] and, using only one hand (see, nothing up my sleeve!), play the equivilent of Marble blaster. Nothing fancy or overly complicated. I don't want to play Quake 3, just little things to pass the time at the bus stop or on the train. The frustrations from having the train stop or start would just be part of
    • Look at http://www.hackcell.com/ [hackcell.com] for a way to add an accelerometer to an xbox or gamecube pad.
    • Re:Games? (Score:3, Informative)

      by miyako (632510)
      There was a game for gameboy color IIRC called "Kirby Tilt 'n Tumble" which used this technology, been out for several years, kind of an interesting game, mostly just for the "gee-wiz" factor though.
  • The problem is... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AciDLnx (541241) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:05AM (#11346895)
    The article says that the "new technology" uses an accelerometer, yet states: "This technology will do away with the need for complex keypads on mobile phones".

    Clearly, they are jumping the gun. What about people on bumpy trains, busses, etc? Granted, it might be an easier means of input for people walking or standing, but for people in cars, trains, etc, etc, It won't work, and clearly won't "do away with" a standard "complex" input keypad.

    Though, it is kind of cool to see components like accelerometers finding their way into everything. With modern mobile phones, maybe they'll be programmable for use as a bluetooth wireless "air mouse"? One would only hope the spec would be at least open to mainstream programmers.
    • Well that would be true if it were on all the time. It probably will have a way to "key the mic" where you hold a button or something while you do your gestures or whatever. Just a guess but something has to be done so it isn't tryign to constantly figure out what I'm trying to say just by walking.
    • Clearly, they are jumping the gun. What about people on bumpy trains, busses, etc?
      Yeah, I was thinking the same. Then I tripped over and accidentally called my mother.
  • Gyromouse (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thrill12 (711899) * on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:05AM (#11346896) Journal
    It's the same thing as the Gyromouse [gyration.com].

    I saw the Philips version of this gyromouse once for the cheap price of 15 dollars and didn't even consider it.
    Who wants to keep his hand in the air all the time, apart from the presentation every now and then ?
    Every heard of RSI ?

    The only nice thing I can think for it is some throwing game (darts :) where you can throw the phone to simulate a dart....
    Probably not a very good idea :)
    • With one very important difference, on a phone the display is not separate from the input device so not only do you have no tactile feedback as previously mentioned but no (or at least no constantly visible) visual feedback. There may be ways to utilise this but not as a replacement keypad.
    • I have one of those mice, and it's not bad, for presentation type stuff. Also, it does have an optic sensor, so you can still use it like a regular mouse.

      Personally, my family uses it for Media Center because I was too lazy to buy a splitter and extra receiver and run them upstairs to the TVs.
    • from your link: dual purpose: desktop/in-air use.

      what part of that led you to believe you would have to hold your arm in the air indefinately?

      i kind of like them, use it with my laptop. optical, and a great help when you have limited desk space (cafe, airport terminals, etc) ... i loathe the 'touchpad' my viao came with.

    • I didn't : when I said that "it is only interesting for presentations" I mean the "in-air function".
      And yes, that is exactly the function that is useless for a prolonged period.
      Your desktop use doesn't change anything to that fact - I might as well use my Logitech optical.
  • Hard to use (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lachlan76 (770870) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:07AM (#11346904)
    Wouldn't this kind of thing be extemely hard to use?

    Imagine having to write an SMS by hand in the air, there would be a much greater strain on your muscles, it can't be done in a small space, and it is SLOW.

    I mean does anyone here like the idea of going back to writing communications by hand? Or for that matter, shaking the input device to do something that can be done by moving your thumb 3cm?
  • Much like the add-on available for Firefox i guess. Making mouse gesures, although this brought it's own querky problems so that was another add-on to get removed. I suppose it may be handy for one or two funtions used most frequently.
  • Now you have to move the phone and hold the steering wheel still... great job, guys! I'd hope for better voice controls, like 'dial 8-6-7-5-3-0-9" type stuff.
  • by flumps (240328) <matt.corbyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:16AM (#11346945) Homepage
    Man its bad enough that my phone randomly phones people in my pocket when I sit down, let alone when I'm walking along the road..

    My phone's autolock doesn't always work so I don't really want to phone australia by mistake cause I just ran up a flight of stairs!
  • I can picture this being used for a horizontal menu where movement of the phone exactly matches the movement of the menu. You could even have vertical submenus. But the main problem with this is that it really doesn't innovate in the way they seem to think it does. It's a neat trick, but I don't see it having any major effect on how we interact with our phones and other devices. It could be useful for gaming, but even then the feature is ultimately just a fairly limited gimmick.
    • Or an extrapolation of this I saw on MobileBurn [mobileburn.com] where tilting the phone causes the phone to scroll as if you were looking at a mirror. The movements involved are slight and as intuitive as using a hand held mirror . Excellent for reading lengthy text messages.
  • Phone: "I noticed your hand waving up and down, would you like me to conect you to a sex-chat hotline"
    User: Puts his meat away, and turns phone recognition off.
  • Is it just me... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Apatharch (796324)
    ...or would shaking the phone about to control games make it a tad difficult to follow what's happening on the screen?
  • by TheStick (847894) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:24AM (#11346966)
    Two words: handicapped people. Some people can't type on those classic keypads. Now they can make simple hand gestures to call somebody. For the rest of us, it's just another phone with totally useless features.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      First off there are technologies to help those people. Second off there is no possible situation where an interface like this would help handicapped people. Think about it, if you can move your hands you can dial a phone, even if just by jamming your fingers or a rod into the buttons (there is actually a tool called a "wand" for people with poor/no finger motor contoll to use keyboards and phones). Unless someone maybe didn't have hands and wanted to dial by grasping the phone in their mouth and thrashing f
    • Two words: handicapped people.

      You always know a technology is doomed to failure when somebody suggests that their latest gimmik "could be useful for handicapped people". Really it's just another way of saying "really neat but no use to anybody at all".

      On the other hand, those who start out by actually talking to handicapped people and finding out what it is that would make their life easier - they're the ones who come up with the useful inventions for handicapped people. Sadly, their produce tend not to

    • Two words: handicapped people. Some people can't type on those classic keypads. Now they can make simple hand gestures to call somebody. For the rest of us, it's just another phone with totally useless features.

      I dunno... Doesn't seem that handy to me, really, even for the handicapped. I mean, if you've got the motor skills necessary to grasp a phone and draw shapes/figures/numbers in the air...I'd think there are probably plenty of other things you could already be using to dial a phone - like a keyboa

    • Handicapped? They might want to just get a voice activated phone.. Maybe these phones were meant for the mute and handless? Oh wait, then what point would it be to even havea phone?
  • by Illserve (56215) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:25AM (#11346972)
    To date, movement sensors in mobile phones have been limited to slope calculations and applied to some games and bio-related features. However, the SCH-S310 can recognize continuous movement in 3-dimensional space.

    Two technical problems with this that I see.

    Accelerometers have accumulation errors that always render them inaccurate. For true accuracy you need an external point of reference.

    Consider, your phone senses that it accerates 5 m/s/s for 2 seconds, it can compute its current velocity no problem.

    Now in stopping it, sensor error causes it to think it's accerlated -4.9999 m/s/s for 2 seconds. It's stopped, but it thinks it has a nonzero velocity. Not a big deal yet, but over time these errors accumulate, and after a day or two your phone thinks it's cruising along at 500mph. Perhaps a constant decay term on the stored velocity can force the system to tend to zero over the long term.

    But a second and bigger issue is that of frame of reference. For many of the applications described here, I don't care how fast my phone is moving with respect to the earth, I care how fast it is moving with respect to me. So if I get in a car in stop and go traffic, how does the phone discriminate that motion from motion I do with my hands? Or what if I'm just walking along trying to edit my phone book with gesture motions and someone steps in front of me and I stop short? bye bye Cindy, guess we won't be going out tonight after all.

    Maybe very clever software design can mitigate this problem of discriminating intended from unintended motion, but it's a difficult problem.

    • May be you need to hold a button before you wave? Just like talking on walki-talki?
    • You have a celphone with a Digital Camera, GPS, a 3D motion sensor, Bluetooth, a two-way radio, and a processor to handle all this plus some dumb games. That's just some shielding and fancy coding away from a guidance system, with optical target recognition, GPS, a backup Inertial Navigation System for areas where GPS is not available, celestial navigation system (just roll the camera over), and short- and medium- range radios. Put two on a drone and you'll get basic flight instruments as well. Now UAVs, C
      • I think the people currently modding for HL2 just got a cool idea for a Half Life 2: Real World mod. Cool. But crap, that means I'll have to deal with aimbots while walking on the street.

    • No. It's definately *not* a "very difficult" problem. Actually, you gave the solution to this "problem" yourself.

      Have the velocity decay. For applications like this, "writing numbers in the air" any acceleration that is more than something like 3-5 seconds "old" is irrelevant.

      This *migth* still give problems if you try to use this in say a moving vehicle in city-traffic or very bumpy road, but it'll *certainly* not be thrown off just 'cos the phone thinks it's still moving since yesterday.

      If you're tr

  • Given that we all know loads of people who have dialled numbers due to leaving the keyguard off in the pockets, or even recieved call. Imagine what this gem would do if left activated in your pocket 8/ Still as long as it terminates silly support calls when you throw it at a wall I dont mind.
  • But will it be intuitive enough to know when to play Barry White and when instead to cue the Pet Shop Boys?
  • by Dougie Cool (848942) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:30AM (#11346985)
    1.
    User: Hey, look at this!
    * User turns around to show friend
    User: Bugger. Just a sec.

    2.
    Executive 1: What if the user is trying to walk and use the phone at the same time? It is, after all, a mobile phone.
    Executive 2: Oh yeah, you're right, it's a load of crap isn't it?

    Of course, you can't expect the executives to think of problems with their ideas, because that would imply that they were fallible.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A loud clatter of gunk music flooded through the Heart of Gold cabin as Zaphod searched the sub-etha radio wavebands for news of himself. The machine was rather difficult to operate. For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive - you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved
  • Remember the TV series Quantum Leap, where Al used to shake the controller for the mainframe (Ziggy?) around? Looks like they were ahead of the times.

    Better start keeping a look out for people around you suddenly behaving weirdly for a day or so...
  • ... just imagine the crazy shit they will be hearing on their morning run.

  • effectively switching the phone off when you throw it agains a wall. Or will it just phone the emergency company therapist.
  • Games will be played by moving the phone up, down, right or left, instead of pressing buttons.

    Sounds great, but how can you focus on the screen at the same time? :-P

    Could be fun to play Marble Madness this way though.
    • The company I work for have developed a game called Mozzies for the Siemens SX1, which has zero or fewer redeeming features other than this game. It uses the phone camera to track movement and you're aiming at the centre of the screen. You just have to shoot mosquitoes. It's actually quite easy to focus on the screen.
  • if anyone needs to reach me, my new number is:

    up, up, down, down, left, right,left, right, b, a, start.

  • I dunno about that...my phone would be seeing my middle finger an awful lot..

    And how does it know that it's YOUR finger? What happens if you have your phone out and someone starts pointing at it excitedly. Your phone could go bonkers and call random numbers in Moscow!
  • I have absolutely no experience with accelerometers, so here goes my n00b question for today:

    Would it be possible for the phone's software to adjust the sensitivity of the hardware? Or just interpret it different? As in, would it be possible that, when first used, the telephone would ask you how much 'strength' or acceleration is needed for the activation of this feature? Doesn't seem to difficult to me, and would solve some of the more obvious problems, IMHO.

    Not that I would have ANY use for this.

    PS. I
  • This is mouse-gestures where the "cursor" path is comprised of your finger/hand through the air in front of the phone. Maybe I'm jaded, but this doesn't seem all that great. Or new. Or innovative.

    It seems to me that it's just an edge-detection algorithm hooked up to a CCD, driving a back-end gesture engine.

  • Map scrolling (Score:2, Insightful)

    by c3p0 (659286)
    Samsung is ahead of their competitors in many areas. Although this may not be a huge selling point at the moment, in the future it might. Their edge will be that they will have experince of producing phones with this tech when their competitor won't.

    One application I immediatly think of is navigation of maps. Just move the screen over your virtual map instead of slowly scrolling around with softbuttons, or whatever conventional method there might be on your current phone.
  • It's bad enough that you can't tell a crazy person from someone on the phone these days, with the bluetooth in-ear headpieces... now they'll be talking loudly to themselves and making wild hand gestures.

    Consider the public health implications!
  • "For customer support, nod your head. For sales, wiggle your index finger. To speak to a customer service representive, blink 3 times in quick succession. For quality purposes all conversations and gestures may be recorded."
  • "Just use the mind link function, think of the music and it will pick up your vibe."
    - Romulox

  • So now all those somatic components I memorised in spells will have a use.
  • Put it in your pocket before you go jogging but forget to switch it off?

    By the time you come back you've dialed 5 people in Australia, sent 9 obscene SMSs to every person in your address book, lost 17 games of Tetris and taken 92 full colour pictures of your pocket fluff - all while playing your complete Britney Spears MP3 collection. And the battery's gone flat.

    Cool!

  • This is not the first motion controlled phone: MyDevice [geek.com] came out 18 months ago.
  • What are these "Cell phones" you speak of? No seriously...I think all cell phones are the most useless invention ever invented, come on, we read /. , who would ever want to speak to us? I get maybe 1 phone call a month on my real phone, and that's usually a telemarketer. Definitely nothing to see here..
  • Sign Language! Better start studying/practicing!
  • karma.. (Score:2, Funny)

    by digital.prion (808852)
    Now, even the retarded kids will have someone to clown!

    sincerely,
    [Zorro]
  • All newer phones have E911. AGPS receivers receive raw GPS signals, then send them over the phone's radio connection to a telco server that does the differential math to determine the phone's location (in 3D space). Counting lag, and the meager amount of even raw data they can accumulate, it's accurate to only a couple of meters or so. But there's also differential data in the cell/PCS signals for augmentation. The newest generation of smartphones, with RISC clocks approaching 1GHz, will probably have the b
  • From the user manual:

    To reset all system settings to the factory defaults, and delete all saved numbers in memory, vigorously shake the phone in all directions. Just like an Etch-A-Sketch.

    --Joe
  • "Why are you doing the hokey pokey?"

    "I'm trying to call a taxi."

  • Just by shaking it: UP, UP, DOWN, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT, MENU, END, SEND.

    Unlimited airtime!

    Blockwars [blockwars.com] free, multiplayer, tetris like game

  • *sigh* If they'd just stop making the gadgets *too small*, there'd be enough room, not just for the pitiful handful of controls we get now, but a *proper* set of controls. I want equipment I can wrap my whole hand around without covering up any inputs, outputs, or controls. I don't *care* that it won't fit in a shirt pocket, since that's already filled by my Day-Timer.

    And, I want to see the error rates on these movement recognition thingines. Have you *ever* seen a non-totally-broken keyboard report th
  • Crazy? (Score:3, Funny)

    by CreatureComfort (741652) * on Thursday January 13, 2005 @10:52AM (#11348339)


    So now the crazy guy on the subway waving his arms around and talking to himself, is only just trying out his new phone?

    • No kidding. Its always funny how technology confuses us because of the way people make assumptions.

      iPod - users look like they're lost in their own worlds, and often are since they have a friggin soundtrack to their life.

      • Forgot the rest of that...

        Bluetooth headsets - people talking to themselves on the street are n't crazy.

        And now finally this phone where as you said, the people waving and talking aren't crazy either. Good god, in 5 years people with tourettes will probably be thought of as normal since society will have adapted to these people.

  • In H2G2 he suggested a space ship with controls that were manipulated by movements made above them, but this had the drawback of requiring the operator to almost stop breathing in order to remain tuned to the same radio station....
  • I dropped my phone on the stairs while I was dialing. A beautiful girl called me back and wants me to spend the weekend with her on the beach in Mexico. I was so happy that I let the phone drop and it erased her number.
  • That guy on the corner waving his hands all over and yelling is not crazy, he's just making a phone call.

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