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Minput Makes Movement a New Way to Control Small Electronics

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Minput input device

The underside of Minput has two sensors used for optical tracking.

Credit: Chris Harrison / Carnegie Mellon University

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's Human-Computer Interaction Institute have developed Minput, a proof-of-concept miniature input device that provides mouse control and optical tracking for handheld devices. Minput features a 1.5-inch liquid-crystal display taken from a wristwatch originally developed to allow users to watch TV or movies, and two optical sensors.

The researchers say Minput can be operated anywhere, including the surface of a table, on a user's leg, or on the palm of a user's hand. Users can manipulate Minput and control different programs via gestures such as flicking and twisting. For example, turning it like a knob would adjust the volume and sliding it left and right would change songs. Another modality functions like a virtual window, and users can slide Minput over photographs, text documents, and Web pages to interact with them.

Minput also offers cursor control, which functions like a mouse for playing simple games.

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