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.
Read more »
Tags: caps, cell phone, pico projector, projector, touchscreen
TEC Japan has created the Tobidasu Menu, a touchscreen embedded into restaurant tables that allows patrons to browse a digital menu by touch and view food in 3D.
The menu also packs a few other neat tricks. For example, place a hamburger bun on the screen and when you lift it up there will be a juicy 3D hamburger sitting there (picture of this after the jump).
Tobidasu Menu is a clever idea, and comes at a time when touchscreens are popping up all over the place. TEC has not said if or when the system would be available in restaurants, but we wouldn’t mind ordering our food via touchscreen sometime soon. If it’s anything like a real menu, though, the real food won’t look anywhere near as good as its virtual counterpart. Read more »
Tags: japan, tobidasu menu, touch, touchscreen
Microsoft recently showed off their LucidTouch concept technology that lets you control a mobile device via touchscreens on the front and back.
Although currently just a concept (the proof-of-concept device shown has a clunky camera sticking out from the back to monitor the user’s fingers), Microsoft hopes to eventually implement the technology in a small portable gadget. Read more »
Tags: lucidtouch, microsoft, touch, touchscreen
What do you get when you cross an iPhone with an iPod shuffle? An iStick, of course! Designer Alexei Mikhailov has dreamed up this gadget to show what he thinks that hybrid should look like.
The iStick is modeled after a tube of lipstick. However, all four sides have a touchscreen providing for a slick interface.
While the device isn’t for movie or photo viewing, it would be perfect for listening to music. It’s small, light, and has the same great interface as an iPhone. The iStick would also have Coverflow to let you scroll through album covers for an added effect. WiFi is also built in to browse iTunes.
The pictures also show some tiny wireless headphones. We’d really like to see some of those.
The concept is great, but it would be pretty hard to fit all that technology into a device as compact as the iStick. We’re also wondering what the gray end cap is for. Maybe you can twist it around as another way to interact with the gadget. Hopefully we’ll see a similar device from Apple sometime in the future. More pictures after the jump. Read more »
Tags: apple, iphone, ipod shuffle, istick, itunes, music, touchscreen, wifi
Designer Mac Funamizu has created a gadget showing what he thinks the future holds for mobile devices. The “near” future, he claims. It includes a touch screen, built-in camera, scanner, WiFi, Google Maps and Google search support, and even an image search, all in a tiny and beautiful package.
Although the concept is pretty far out for today’s technology, it might indeed be possible sometime in the future, and it would probably be one of the most useful gadgets we own.
The device would be able to give you all sorts of information about what you are looking at through its screen. Simply touch the thing you want to know about – be it a word in a book, a floor on a building, a car, or even some food – and the definition pops up right next to it on the screen.
We love the idea and can only hope that technology will some day allow it to become a reality. This gadget could be tech equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife, especially if someone can build a cell phone into it as well. More pictures after the jump. Read more »
Tags: camera, internet, mac funamizu, touchscreen
It’s been a long time coming, and riders of San Francisco’s ‘Connected Bus’ will finally have WiFi service during their journey around the city. People will never have to stop looking at their computer screen again.
Although the name isn’t very clever, the bus itself certainly is. Besides the free WiFi access, it also has touchscreen maps on the walls with live transit information.
“This is a smart bus in every way, shape and form,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. “You can download music, you can play video games. It’s a bus where you are connected. It’s constantly generating information about your connection to the rest of the Muni system.”
However, some riders are not happy with the new bus. Instead, they’d prefer buses that run on time, better drivers, graffiti removal, and more comfortable seats.
We think the idea is good, but mostly unnecessary. Many people already spend too much time starting at a computer, and this bus won’t help that at all. It would probably be a much better idea to improve the bus system by spending the money in other places. However, constant WiFi access is the future and this is one small step there.
Photo: Chronicle/Michael Macor
Tags: muni, san francisco, touchscreen, wifi
Posted in Gadgets
by Alex on February 10th, 2008
As the company puts it, the XPERIA X1 “redefines premiumness,” and from the looks of the phone we wouldn’t say anything less.
The X1 has all of the features that the iPhone is missing, and then some. This one really does seem to be poised to become the phone of all phones.
The XPERIA X1 has a 3 inch VGA touchscreen sporting a resolution of 800×480. A fully functional QWERTY keyboard slides out from the side for all of your messaging, emailing, and web browsing needs. Of course to do that you need a fast connection as well, so, unlike the iPhone, the X1 supports 3G HSDPA for data transfer speeds up to 3.6Mbits.
The phone has an ‘always on’ internet connection, the ability to send and receive files while in a call, streaming video support, and a video call feature.
For more details, check out the product page here.
No word on price or availability yet, but we can’t wait until the X1 makes its way Stateside. Well done, Sony. Another picture after the jump. Read more »
Tags: 3g, hsdpa, internet, iphone, sony, sony ericsson, touch, touchscreen, video call, xperia x1