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The Invisible iPhone

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gesture-based iPhone interface

The "imaginary phone" uses a camera to capture a user's fingers and software to interpret their position and movement and correlate them to the position of icons on a person's iPhone.

Credit: Engadget

Hasso Plattner Institute researchers have developed a system that enables iPhone users to perform actions on their devices without actually holding the phone. To operate Hasso's imaginary iPhone system, users tap their palm and the system interprets the movements and relays them back to the iPhone.

The system uses a depth-sensitive camera to record the tapping and sliding motions, software to analyze the movements, and a Wi-Fi radio to transmit the movements to the device. The system "serves as a shortcut that frees users from the necessity to retrieve the actual physical device," says Hasso professor Patrick Baudisch, noting the camera works well in different lighting conditions, including direct sunlight.

During testing, the researchers found that users could accurately recall the position of about two-thirds of their applications with similar accuracy on their palms. "It's possible that voice control could serve the same purpose, but the imaginary approach would work in noisy locations and is much more subtle than announcing, 'iPhone, open my email,'" says the University of Waterloo's Daniel Vogel.

From Technology Review
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