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Input Devices Hardware

Project-Natal-Style Interface For Mobile Phones 49

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the future-is-nowish dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The University of Tokyo is developing a Project-Natal-style interface for mobile phones, which allows you to interact with a phone by waving your finger around. Members of the Ishikawa-Komuro Lab have used a high-frame-rate camera to track the motion of a finger and recognise input gestures. The touchless interface can be used to navigate around a phone's screen and even to type."

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Project-Natal-Style Interface For Mobile Phones

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  • by wpanderson (67273) on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:57AM (#31983224)
    The danger for users of porn is clear and present.
  • Wow, that's stupid (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:03AM (#31983268) Homepage Journal

    I can understand the appeal of Natal because it lets four people interact with a piece of hardware without holding anything. But if you already have to hold the phone, it seems more than a bit ridiculous to be finding ways to not touch it with your other hand. It's like finding a way to chew your food without it touching your tongue...

    • This is just like a super alpha prototype. You need to stop thinking about the uses it has now, and more in the uses its going to have later on. Maybe in the future you won't be holding a piece of thick hardware, instead, some ultra nano hardware built-in on an advanced OLED-type screen. I can definitely see the use on something like that.

        I don't know man, just be imaginative.

      • by delinear (991444)
        The first thing that came to mind for me - those touch-screens in public places, like for booking train tickets, or even pub trivia games or cash machines. Maybe I'm overly prone to OCD, but I shudder to have to touch those, not knowing who has used them before me. They're generally smeared with other people's greasy finger marks. If I could air type just in front of the device, I'd feel a lot better. Maybe an alternative would be allowing us to shrink netbooks and laptops by effectively turning the whole o
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It let's you easily draw in 3D space. Tell me of another interface which lets you do that easily.

  • The implications on security in regards to hacking are interesting - you could in theory try to brute-force someone's phone from a slight distance, say next to them on a city bus. Not having to leave fingerprints on someone's device as well is another positive, as it is based on gestures. Especially handy for devices where wireless is protected or not enabled! Even if it took a picture to see who was gesturing, I'm sure you could get out of the way and just have your hand in the frame.
    • Security is completely irrelevant to this story. This is just a really cool prototype of being able gesture 3D input. No one is suggesting that you type your passwords purely with gestures.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ViViDboarder (1473973)
      Most of the time you have to wake a device before you can do any input. That would probably involve hitting a physical button.

      As for brute forcing... You must be fluent in sign language or something. It's not plausible that if someone was using this to detect some kind of pattern on a device that you'd be able to sneak your little hands over there and try every possible combination in 3D. This detects depth too. So it's not going to be something like Android lockscreens where you slide Left, Left, R
  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:04AM (#31983280)

    I guess I understand some of the 'neato' factor that this could have, but isn't one of the big issues introduced with simple touchscreens the LACK of haptic feedback?

    I love my iphone, but I miss being able to just reach into my pocket and dial a call, or skip a song/rewind, etc. Having to pull my phone out every time I want to do anything other than change the volume is damned annoying.

    I could just see this kind of interface being more annoying to use.

    • I love my iphone, but I miss being able to just reach into my pocket and dial a call, or skip a song/rewind, etc. Having to pull my phone out every time I want to do anything other than change the volume is damned annoying.

      If you are using the default iPhone earbuds, you can do all that using the middle button (the one between the up and down volume buttons):

      One click to play/pause, two clicks to skip to next, three clicks to go back to previous, click and hold to activate Voice Control (where you can

      • I didn't know about Voice Control, does it require any special apps or iPhone version (3gs?)

        Also, is there a non-apple version of earbuds available with those buttons? I'd use mine, but they don't fit my ear well and let in a lot of ambient noise. I've just been using some nice earbuds (no buttons) that give a good seal.

      • by Thing 1 (178996)
        Thank you.
  • I was really impressed by the smoothness and accuracy that the camera was able to track the finger movements. Usually, things like this are really jumpy and horribly inaccurate. Although it's not the best way to type things in, I'm sure there will be a ton of cool applications of this.
  • ...if all those flamboyant choreographies from anime are any indication.

  • Public interface (Score:5, Insightful)

    by need4mospd (1146215) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:28AM (#31983504)
    This would be pretty cool to slap into some public use areas like train stations, airports, movies, etc... Half the touchscreens I've used in public areas are always broken(or half working) after a couple years from people pounding on the screen when it won't respond. Slap a piece of plexiglass in front of it that you can replace when it gets damaged, saves the expense of a whole new touchscreen.
    • And then comes the law suits when someone inevitably slaps a passer-by while trying to find their way to ann-summers.

  • For stepping on some of their zillion iPhone patents.

  • We already have enough Bluetooth headset users walking around giving the appearance that they are talking to themselves. Now these same people are going to look like they are having their solo discussions in sign language.
  • The iPhone 4 prototype that leaked has second camera that faces the user. It could go gesture recognition as well. However, the last thing I want is a less accurate means to control my phone. Why wave my fingers in front of the phone, when I could just extend my fingers slightly more and touch the screen?

  • So, can I assign "thrust middle finger into air" to the speed dial for my ex wife?
  • Considering that Natal hasn't even launched yet, other groups might want to hold off and see what the reception is to Natal before they start copying it. I for one bought a Wii and was sorely disappointed in the non-precision of the wii-mote. I also have an Xbox and I fear that Natal will be just as annoying. I hope some cool uses of it are created though.

  • Are you making a phone call or miming being stuck in a box?
  • For those asking how it is an improvement over a touchscreen: There can be a ratio of finger movement vs. cursor movement, that is, a mid-air keyboard can be made much larger than an on-screen keyboard.

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