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An Invisible Touch For Mobile Devices

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A person draws a curved line with a finger

Hasso Plattner Institute

Today, the way to interact with a mobile phone is by tapping its keypad or screen with your fingers. But researchers are exploring ways to use mobile devices that would be far less limited.

Patrick Baudisch, professor of computer science at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Postdam, Germany, and his research student, Sean Gustafson, are developing a prototype interface for mobile phones that requires no touch screen, keyboard, or any other physical input device. A small video recorder and microprocessor attached to a person's clothing can capture and analyze their hand gestures, sending an outline of each gesture to a computer display.

The idea is that a person could use an "imaginary interface" to augment a phone conversation by tracing shapes with their fingers in the air. Baudisch and Gustafson have built a prototype device in which the camera is about the size of a large broach, but they predict that within a few years, components will have shrunk, allowing for a much smaller system.

From Technology Review
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