Sure, touchscreen phones look great, but when it comes to typing on the touchscreen most of the phones are lacking. Without having the feedback that a keypad provides, users often have to type slowly and frequently make errors on devices such as the iPhone.
Researchers at the University of Glasgow are trying to solve those problems by using actuators (the things that make your phone vibrate when a call comes in) to replicate the feel of a keypad.
Using existing haptic feedback software, the scientists are trying to squeeze more out of the actuators already present in cell phones. Their modifications provide a single pulse for the feeling of a button being clicked, a longer buzz to provide a “rough” feeling when the user has moved to a different key, and a buzz that ramps up and down when sliding a finger across a button to give that button a rounded feel.
The researchers found that users’ typing speed and accuracy were much closer to a standard keypad when using their haptic feedback software. The team will present their findings at the Computer Human Interaction conference in Italy next month, and hopefully we’ll see cell phone manufacturers picking up this software to make their touchscreen phones that much more usable. [via New Scientist]
Tags: cell phone, haptic feedback, interaction, iphone, touchscreen, university of glasgow
We’ve seen some wild concept phones before, but this is probably one of the more unique designs of that bunch. The Caps concept cell phone looks like a little tube and features a tiny projector to let you view images and video at a larger scale.
Designed by Jean-Jacques Chanut, Caps features a small, rounded screen with a simple menu that should be easy to navigate via the touchscreen. A pico projector (perhaps this or this one) can show images and movies from one end of the phone, and a headphone jack is on the other side to listen to tunes and movies.
Obviously we’re a ways away from such a small phone, but sometime in the future a little tube like this might be what we’re all using to chat to each other. We do have one question though: how do you talk on the phone? Perhaps sticking it in your ear might do the trick, or maybe it’s only intended to be used with a headset. Another picture after the jump.
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Tags: caps, cell phone, pico projector, projector, touchscreen
Finally! The world’s first permitted cell phone call has been made on an Emirates flight between Dubai and Casablanca.
In order to allow calls, the airline fitted a plane with a system designed by AeroMobile that prevents mobile phones from interfering with the aircraft’s electronics. Emirates also had to obtain approval from international air safety organizations.
The company said that it decided to introduce the ability to use cell phones after seeing high demand for the phones installed in seats.
Of course, this might not be such good news for those who like to sleep on flights. However, Emirates is letting the cabin crew have the final say over cell phone usage, and the system will prevent calls at night to keep disturbances to a minimum.
Emirates plans to extend the system to more planes and add BlackBerry and other data services. Hopefully this is the beginning of a trend, as being able to use a cell phone (in moderation) would be very convenient during flights. [via BBC]
Tags: aeromobile, airplane, cell phone, flight
Samsung has announced an 8 MP CMOS camera module that it claims to be the thinnest of its kind, measuring a tiny 8.5 mm thin.
Notable features of the new module include anti-shake, a 1 cm macro, face tracking technology, and a smile shutter feature that knows to snap a picture when it detects people smiling.
The company expects the new module to replace the 5 MP cameras found in today’s high-end camera phones by the end of the year.
Cell phone cameras are quickly catching up to today’s digital cameras, which will probably become extinct in a matter of years. It seems that putting all sorts of gadgets in one box is the way to go these days, so if you are thinking of buying a new camera hold off for a few months and buy one of the 8 MP cell phones when they are released.
Tags: camera, cell phone, cmos sensor, photography, samsung
Posted in Gadgets
by Alex on March 8th, 2008
3M has announced a partnership with a yet unnamed leading consumer electronics company to bring its ultra-portable projector to the market.
The company is hoping to become the first to release such a product, ahead of big names like Texas Instruments and Microvision.
This tiny projector will be able to attach to cell phones, cameras, and laptops to display an image up to 50 inches, diagonally. Although its not exactly a built-in pico projector, it’s capable of displaying a fairly large image and will work with other devices – not just a cell phone. It also looks portable enough, as we don’t know many people who would complain about carrying that tiny thing in their pockets.
The device is estimated to sell between $300 and $400, with prices dropping to $150 within five years. Count us in, we want one of these!
[About Projectors via Gizmodo]
Tags: 3m, cell phone, laptop, mini projector, portable, projector
Designer Sunman Kwon’s touchscreen phone is almost like any other. The thing that really sets it apart is the addition of a detachable Bluetooth headset.
Called the Mooon+, the phone essentially acts as a convenient carrying case for your headset. While attached to the phone, the headset’s battery is charged up.
When a call comes in, simply pop the headset off the phone, rotate the earphone into position, and chat away handsfree.
This is a great concept that would go well with many existing touchscreen phones today. Having an attached headset means never forgetting it but never having to remember about it as well. It’s simply always there, ready for a phone call at any time. This is one concept that we hope to see make it to the market. More pictures after the jump. Read more »
Tags: bluetooth, cell phone, headset, mooon+
Vodafone is showing off a service called Otello at CeBIT in Germany that uses images, instead of words, to search the web.
Users can snap an image using a cell phone’s camera and send it in a message to the service. They will then get regular search results back about whatever was in the photo. For example, pictures of a newspaper, billboard, book cover, or place can be taken and sent to Otello to find out more about them.
Otello is currently undergoing trials with a German newspaper that lets users find out more about a story by taking a snapshot of an image in the article and sending it off. Sadly, there are currently no plans on bringing the service to a larger market.
Image-based searching has been expected for some time now, so it’s great to see services finally popping up taking advantage of better cameras and faster internet connections on today’s mobile phones to allow them to perform visual searches. There is a huge market for this, so hopefully Vodafone and other carriers can perfect the technology and bring it to the masses soon.
Tags: camera, cell phone, internet, otello, search, vodafone
Nokia has recently announced their Morph concept, a gadget which should (in about 100 years) replace everything you carry in your pocket today.
Featured in The Museum of Modern Art “Design and The Elastic Mind” exhibition, the Morph aims to be the only gadget you’ll ever need due to its adaptable nature. Made of flexible and transparent materials, Nokia imagines this gadget taking on just about any shape and size.
For example, it can start in the shape of a cell phone, but then unfold into a screen to view movies and other media on. This larger screen would incorporate input devices such as keyboards and touch pads as well to allow for communication. It could then be folded up into a bracelet that you wear on your wrist. As Nokia says, the Morph would “allow us to communicate and interact in unprecedented ways.”
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Tags: cell phone, iphone, morph, nanotech, nokia, screen, solar power, touch