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Input Devices Hardware

Demo of Laptop/Tabletop Hybrid UI 66

TheGrapeApe writes "The ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (ACMUIST) has an interesting proof-of-concept video up demonstrating the use of cameras and laser pico-projectors to 'extend' a laptop's user interface to adjacent surfaces. The video demonstrates some simple gestures like tapping and dragging being captured on the 'extended' surface. While the prototype appears to be somewhat cumbersome, it's easy to see how it might be more elegantly integrated into the hardware with more R&D."

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Demo of Laptop/Tabletop Hybrid UI

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  • by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:13AM (#31844546) Homepage

    ...and looking for POV on

  • With the cost they have spent, they have imitated a lot of Surface features like placing the mobile device and transfer files from it and other things. I think with polishing it can give a good competition for Surface (when it becomes mainstream)
  • Pranav Mistry, TED, SixthSense... This HybridUI is so cheap copy it hurts. []

    • by emj ( 15659 )
      Not really, this is is "easy" to DIY and something that is actually usable at this moment, one projector and a webcam and you can do lots of stuff, and everyone who have their computer at a desk can use it. The wearable stuff shown at TED has a long way to come.
    • by coaxial ( 28297 )

      It's not a wearable device, and and doesn't need those finger caps. More importantly thoug, the use cases are completely different. SixthSense is for that very vague use case when you want a wearable, but don't need a HUD. This is tangible computing []. And tangible computing is *much* cooler because it has a great potential to be an everyday interaction. Wearables are destined to serve in a niche space.

      • Yes - but its merely taking existing technology and applying it to an also niche application. About a month after the Sixth Sense was demo'd they finished a prototype that didn't require finger caps to identify the fingers.

        The whole Idea of the sixth sense was more about:
        Reliable Input output wherever you are, with an OS that understands universal gestures.

        The fact that it was wearable was only meant to exagerate that point. This news article listed here is nothing that wasn't around in 2009.

        • by coaxial ( 28297 )

          The hand gestures aren't really needed beyond simple interaction like touch, drag, and swipe. This is much more along the lines of skinput [].

  • Quick, send that idea to China for R&D!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The one downside is the system causes you to do an over-exaggerated nod any time you use it.

  • by HopefulIntern ( 1759406 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:37AM (#31844792)
    Who has a desk as clean as that?
    • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:51AM (#31844972) Journal
      Who has a desk as clean as that?

      I do. All of my papers, books, parts, plates and cutlery, post-it notes, mugs, wine bottles, and other miscellaneous clutter prevent dust from settling on it.
    • by Fri13 ( 963421 )

      I do have. I have (almost) paperless office. All work is done digitally with few computers. Coffee cup is usually with the wireless keyboard and mouse. I do not even have a mousepad because laser mouse.

      One key for 99% paperless office is to have a scanner and not to have a printer in front of you. Every paper what you get, you scan it to digital format and throw away the original if there is no need to store it to shelfs (laws demanding it etc). If something is needed to send via paper format, then you can

      • I dont even own a printer. My desk is cluttered with stuff; empty cans of monster, video game controller, various tools, coffee cups, cutlery...yes I am a bit of a slob :s
    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      The furniture store?

  • The video has a post-title closing shot not unlike movie trailers from the last decade. It starts at 3:45 and it's actually funnier than what I expected (admittedly I had pretty low expectations).

    The question is, when did these start showing up in officially submitted academic videos?

  • by xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D ( 1160707 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:49AM (#31844938)

    That was the worst video demo I've seen in recent memory. None of the purported applications were interesting at all.

    Quick, you want to pause the music you're playing. Which would be easier? (1) Hitting a pause button on your laptop; (2) Hitting a pause button on your headphones; (3) Putting an accelerometer in your headphones; (4) Finding the exact tiny square on your desk such that if you put your headphones down there and maybe fiddle with it for a couple seconds so it's in the proper orientation to be picked up by a camera? I don't see much future in option #4.

    The scanning was pretty bad, too. Even manually taking a picture of a photo or piece of paper, where I'm directly overhead and fiddling with the lighting, it's hard to get a good result. When that started I thought "wow that picture is going to look like absolute shit" and it turned out even worse than I thought. Even at 480p you could the picture was unusable for anything, virtually unrecognizable even.

    The worst was the "tapping", though. It actually requires you to break your own finger bones just to register a "tap"?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I agree the quality of the samples were pretty bad, but I think the point was to show that the technology is out there and can be developed further (provided they get enough investors) into something usable and practical.

      I work in an accounting firm and I can totally see this being used to scan documents and other related material to send to clients for quick sharing and transfer of information. Sure, you can walk it over to the scanner and email from there, but anytime you can keep a user at their desk the

      • by Zerth ( 26112 )

        Walk it over to the scanner

        How enormous a scanner do you have? Get a $50 USB powered scanner, just the time saved walking should cover the cost

        Not to mention eliminating the chance of leaving somebody's medical file on the platen.

      • Talk about inventing an obscure hypothetical use case to justify a solution in search of a problem...

    • by MikeURL ( 890801 )
      I tend to think when the apps for Natal start to come out that they will be a lot more polished than this.

      There is a desire to expand the UI beyond JUST a KB and mouse but a lot of technologies have to converge to make that happen in a way that is more meaningful than just a touchscreen.
    • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @11:55AM (#31845780)

      That was the worst video demo I've seen in recent memory. None of the purported applications were interesting at all.

      This was a bunch of students working on a sponsored project and presenting a video of their finished experiment to judges at a conference. The video was probably not even a primary concern, since judges would probably be seeing a live demo. You're living far too pampered a life if you think every product presentation is made with you and your personal needs in mind. Your reaction is an example of corporations ballooning people's sense of entitlement and self-importance to extravagant proportions.

      The idea behind experiments like this one is not to immediately produce a salable item or any direct profit, but rather to encourage an environment where new kinds of thinking can emerge which might otherwise not, and thus present us with possibilities not envisioned prior. Another word for this is, "Play".

      I strongly recommend you look into it.


    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      The worst was the "tapping", though. It actually requires you to break your own finger bones just to register a "tap"?

      That's the one thing I hate about my Acer netbook -- its touchpad simulates a left mouse click by tapping it. You don't have to tap hard, which is bad, because it thinks I'm tapping when I'm just moving my finger to complete the mouse cursor's movement. It's not a bug, just an incredibly bad feature.

      This would be the same; there are no sensors in the desk, so you wouldn't "break your own fin

      • I wish I could find out how to turn that "feature" off;

        Control Panel -> Mouse -> Uncheck tap to click option. Hard stuff to figure out, I'm sure.

        • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

          Not there, I looked. But I'll look again when I get home, thanks.

          • Most touchpads have their own utility for all that kind of crap - often it appears in the system tray[1]. Sometimes it's duplicated in its own tab in the mouse properties.

            (Fellow sufferer - first thing I do on any machine is turn all that off, though two-finger scrolling is about tolerable on my Eee)

            [1] this is assuming you've still got the factory OS installed.

  • Ergonomics (Score:1, Insightful)

    by wbackner ( 1417725 )
    I wonder how all of these virtual interfaces work ergonomically. I could see how it would be really good because you could individually adjust components. However, I could also see how there could be complications from only working with hard surfaces and having no physical interface to support your hands.
  • how long until apple files a patent for this?
  • by ciaran_o_riordan ( 662132 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:56AM (#31845032) Homepage

    This sort of thing was being done even back in 1985, and there are videos to demonstrating it:

    My interest is in finding prior art to prevent any company from using patents to jam up phone development for the years to come. If anyone else has examples from 1990 or before, please let me know.

    • I was kind of wondering how far down the comment line it would go until I hit something about Apple. Thank you for making your well analyzed point of view. Kind of makes me wonder how long it will be until Steve Jobs and his patent trolls start running screaming. It's mine, mine, all mine. We thought of it first and we'll sue anyone who even thinks about implementing this. Just think, in several generations down the road, our children won't have to be party to these petty ego bruised megalomaniacs. Well ma
  • portable isn't good enough now?

    does the system travel autonomously to it's winter grazing lands?

  • by kiehlster ( 844523 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @11:10AM (#31845228) Homepage
    "This feature is knock-on-wood and free of glitches." *knocks on wood desk* "Well, except when the computer closes all open programs like it just did. We still need to work on that particular gesture."
  • by bev_tech_rob ( 313485 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @11:15AM (#31845308)
    I can't see the video due to Websense at work blocking Youtube (grrrrr), but from what the description describes, isn't this system similar to what Tony Stark had in the Iron Man movie? The holographic desktop projections were pretty cool for that movie. He would just grab a portion of the armor and throw it in the virtual trashcan.
    • by knarf ( 34928 )

      I can't see the video due to Websense at work blocking Youtube

      So? You have broadband at home I assume? What keeps you from running a proxy on that? Those silly web filters will only disappear once their utter futility has been proven enough for even the most dimwitted CIO. Those filters are not an alternative for creating a challenging work environment. If people want to waste time on the job they'll find something to waste it on, filters be damned...

  • your phone with a microprojector/camera for the keyboard and a 2nd microprojector that displays on a surface for the display. It'll take awhile, but I expect it to happen when microprojectors get better. Feel free to use this comment as "prior art" as a published idea 10 years from now when the patent surfaces:)

  • And most likely Chat Roulette will be the first place it's put to use...
  • [...] demonstrating the use of cameras and laser pico-projectors to "extend" a laptop's user interface to adjacent surfaces.

    Excellent! Now when I'm laptopping away on the couch, I can turn the cat into my UI. This would be great with context-sensitive help. "Double-tap left cat ear to confirm." Also, turnabout for all those times the cat decides to use her two-pawpad scrolling powers on me.

    • This will work for about 3 seconds. Then the cat will start playing tag with the cursor and icons, which will be interpreted as "taps".

      If you thought the cat walking across your keyboard was disruptive wait until it starts launching multiple apps at batty-bat-bat-the-cat-toy speeds.

  • by properly aligning the mirrors, a three dimensional environment could be developed.

    a precursor of the holodeck
  • At first, I thought that the guy was "tapping" that hard in the table because the system only works that way. But then in the picture scan part he "tapped" (more like hammered) his keyboard the same way he did in the table... If he pokes one's arm, we will see a exposed fracture for sure.

Friction is a drag.