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Pinch-Screen Puts All Your Fingers in Control

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Katrin Wolf of the Technical University of Berlin

The PinchPad created by Katrin Wolf of the Technical University of Berlin can sense when a user's fingers and thumbs make a pinching motion.

Credit: Technical University of Berlin

Tablet computers and smartphones are designed to be used by a person's thumbs, but a new device developed by the Technical University of Berlin's Katrin Wolf enables people to use their other eight digits.

The PinchPad, which is two iPads attached back-to-back, exploits the natural ability of the thumb to line up with fingers even when they cannot be seen. Designed to sense the pinching motion, the PinchPad would interpret a select or undo command when the thumb touches the index finger on the opposite side of the device, for example. Also, sweeping the thumb from one finger to the next could adjust volume or brightness, and moving the thumb in small circles over each finger could adjust on-screen dials.

The device is useful because it offers novel gestures, says Carnegie Mellon University's Chris Harrison. "And you get extra buttons for free without having to put anything on screen," he says.

From New Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2012 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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