Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Human-Computer Interaction The future from Vancouver

A magical setting that promises to transform the way we relate to a touchscreen, a virtual X-ray equipment, a console the size of a wall and programs designed to make it the latest smart phones. Want them to look all together, projects and prototypes presented in recent days at the Conference on Human-Computer Interaction in Vancouver look like something very much like an instruction manual for the future.

Alongside the PaperPhone presented by Queens University, in fact, there are many gadgets that would like to become our most natural way of dealing with the technology of everyday life. The conference was attended not only the most prestigious universities around the world, but also giants like Microsoft, Google, IBM and Nokia.

A representative of the boot, however, have crossed the ocean, the researchers of the Italian Institute of Technology, the Politecnico di Milano and University of Padua and Genoa. During the four-day Canadian research has illustrated more than eight hundred, from social networks to medicine, from telephony to the world games.

Here's a little taste. Among touch screens and frames sticky. Now become the favorite instrument to interact with smartphones, and Tablet PC, touchscreen could not miss. Two prototypes, in particular, have attracted the attention of the participants: the ZeroTouch and the screen that changes texture.

As announced from the name, ZeroTouch performs the same functions without the touchscreen that there is nothing to touch. In practice, this is a frame consisting of hundreds of LEDs and infrared sensors to translate the movements into commands to the computer. According to its creators (a group of students from Texas A & M University), the framework has several advantages: on one hand can be placed on a monitor, thus turning it into a classic touch, and second, it may be simply resting on a table or even hanging from the center of a room to be used for mo 'of canvas.

The second touchscreen presented, instead, aims to yield a more complete sense of touch screen. Designed by researchers at the University of British Columbia and Northwestern, the prototype is able to change the consistency - moving from slippery to sticky - depending on what is happening on the monitor.

Thus, for example, when you move the file screen is slippery, but as soon as we focus on the destination folder to change the clutch unit, creating more friction. Unlike similar technologies deployed on some smartphones (Nokia N900 as the prototype), this display is capable of changing its friction using a thin layer of air located on the screen, which is regulated by friction of subtle vibrations.

"With this tool, you can bring the interface to a new level of reality," said Vincent Levesque, a researcher at the University of British Columbia. The ultimate goal is always the same: "to ensure that you have a deeper connection with what is happening on screen." Microsoft, between the console and medicine.

With over forty researchers, the Redmond company has been one of the protagonists of the conference, touching a bit 'all fields of human-machine interface. Among the studies there is certainly curious that the group led by Gabe Cohn for the "transformation of every house in a console-style mega Kinect.

The principle on which are based researchers will be able to use each wall a huge sensor using the fact that unconsciously every time we touch a wall disturb the electromagnetic field generated by the wires of the electric current. Just then a simple detector to take him and you're done.

The researchers were able to correctly identify a point touched on a wall with an accuracy of 87%. According to Microsoft, this technology could allow you to control virtually any device in your house, from the thermostat to the system sound, with simple touches the wall. Another of the most applauded was found AnatOnMe, a small device designed to make easier and more effective communication between doctor and patient.

Formed by a camera, and a miniproiettore infrared detector, the device allows you to create virtual X-rays, projecting onto a wall or even the body of the patient's tissues that lie beneath the skin surface. In this way - provide researchers and doctors who have been in evidence - to communicate with the patient becomes much more immediate because you can show body parts in question.

From ultra thin mobile phone with Google. In the world of telephony, however, get it from the masters were especially PaperPhone and research Mountain View-user to facilitate communication device. The cells have thin and pliable by the Human Media Lab at Queens University has many of the current smartphone capabilities: in addition to telephone, it allows you to listen to music and read digital books.

All this, however, is encased in two layers as thin as paper, an e-ink display and a flexible circuit. In this way, simply fold the screen to send commands and move into the mobile phone menu. "We face the future," said enthusiastic Roel Vertegaal, director of the Human Media Lab "In just five years all the technology will resemble that of PaperPhone.

Google, meanwhile, showed off several times to research more and more to deserve the adjective "smart" mobile phones to come. Watching a bird's eye, it is clear that the giant of the Android platform is seeking ways to simplify the communication and user-smartphone-smartphone device. On the one hand, three studies have focused on the possibility to use specific gestures to interact with the phone, making small movements are translated into signals for cell (eg, the gesture of bringing the smartphone to the face could be translated into a zoom on the screen).

On the other side, however, the instrument Deep Shot promises to transmit data from one computer to your smartphone thanks only to the camera. Starting from a screenshot, the software relies on what you were working on the PC and re-creates the same interface on the phone. Among smartphone super intelligent, walls and screens to be processed through the console, one thing is certain: the way we interact with the electronics will be both more natural and complex.

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