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A Touch Screen With Morphing Buttons

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the mighty-morphin-power-button dept.

Input Devices 160

Al writes "Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have created a touch screen that can also produce physical buttons. Graduate student Chris Harrison and professor Scott Hudson use a projector and infrared sensor below the screen to illuminate it and make it touch-sensitive, and the physical buttons are created using air pumps below the surface. They say this type of screen could be particularly useful when a simple, flat touch-screen is too distracting, for example in a vehicle dashboard."

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160 comments

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Interactive porn in... (5, Funny)

ActionJesus (803475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760001)

3..2..1..

Re:Interactive porn in... (3, Funny)

sadness203 (1539377) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760139)

Morphing pornstar ?

Mmmh 'Key, click here, hold, [enlarging breast] ... Done.

Congratulation, you now have a virtual porn star with triple G

xxx-Box Achievement unlock : Isaac Newton's theory is now wrong.

Re:Interactive porn in... (1)

G0N70 (1542173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760221)

No , you would either break your finger or the screen, and if you are a pervert - Accidentally a whole...

Re:Interactive porn in... (4, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760241)

Publishing the braille edition of Playboy suddenly makes a lot more sense!

Re:Interactive porn in... (4, Funny)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760373)

They already have interactive porn. The problem is you constantly have to buy it dinner and feign interest while it talks about its day.

Re:Interactive porn in... (5, Funny)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760405)

Unless you just buy it.

Re:Interactive porn in... (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760855)

Unless you just buy it.

ITYM rent as opposed to lease... unless you really meant slavery.

Re:Interactive porn in... (5, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760915)

Going for an insightful or funny mod [4wd.com] , place your bets!

I did the math on the Paul McCartney-Heather Mills divorce.
After 5 years of marriage, he paid her $49 million.

Assuming he banged her every night during their 5 year relationship, it ends up costing him $26,849 per lay, not counting attorney's fees and court costs.

On the other hand, Elliot Spitzer's (Governor of New York) call girl Kristen charges $4,000 an hour. Crazy, right?

But...

Had Paul McCartney employed Kristen for 5 years, he would've paid $7.3 million for an hour of sex every night for 5 years (a savings of $41+million).

Value-added benefits are:
a 22 year old hot babe,
no begging,
no coaxing,
never a headache,
wide open menu,
ability to put BOTH legs around you,
no *****ing and complaining or "to do" lists.

Best of all, she leaves when you're done, and comes back the next day, ready for another round. All at 1/7th the cost, with no legal fees.

Is it just me, or is it better to rent?

Re:Interactive porn in... (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761391)

Were Kristen's holes used solely by the Guvner? You left this out from your calculation.

Re:Interactive porn in... (0)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761889)

Just another example of the US's screwed up, feminist lobbying group-driven laws that favor women over men.

Re:Interactive porn in... (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762001)

Just another example of the US's screwed up, feminist lobbying group-driven laws that favor women over men.

Except that it happened in the UK. And also, that your sentiment is full of shit. I certainly wouldn't want to be female, I'd be giving up way too much stuff!

But you go ahead and keep telling yourself that you're a second-class citizen. See how far that gets you.

Re:Interactive porn in... (5, Funny)

Trikki Nikki! (1516301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760419)

They already have interactive porn. The problem is you constantly have to buy it dinner and feign interest while it talks about its day.

I know someone who's sleeping on the couch tonight!

Re:Interactive porn in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27762141)

Yeah, it's not like you're also friends with her and enjoy spending time together. She's just a sex device. Which we'll soon replace with robots!

Now, if only we had fake friends, food, and purpose in life...

Re:Interactive porn in... (1)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760411)

Is the parent displayed faded for anybody else?
http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/6462/29042009170525.jpg [imageshack.us]
Is this some new feature (along with the random user private data mentioned below)?

Re:Interactive porn in... (0, Offtopic)

G0N70 (1542173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760483)

God i got a golden slashdot.org wtf is going on? http://img99.imageshack.us/img99/561/30263350.jpg [imageshack.us] What is this? Or is this normal behavior?

Re:Interactive porn in... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760633)

Different "sections" of Slashdot (you're on "it.slashdot.org") have different colors.

Re:Interactive porn in... (0, Offtopic)

G0N70 (1542173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760781)

Thank you very much good Sir, im new here! sry for being so offtopic.

Re:Interactive porn in... (1)

Evanisincontrol (830057) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760699)

God i got a golden slashdot.org wtf is going on? is this normal behavior?

<offtopic>Yes.</offtopic>

Re:Interactive porn in... (2, Funny)

Evanisincontrol (830057) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760675)

Is this some new feature?

<offtopic>Yes.</offtopic>

Re:Interactive porn in... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761127)

It looked to me like something doing some caching started doing something shonky (I was getting pages intended for other users, but I wasn't logged in as them).

I use the classic interface, making this speculation, but I think the faded look is probably something that can be turned on with the javascript stuff.

Re:Interactive porn in... (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760551)

Not only funny, but probably true. There are (so I've heard) a lot of interactive games that could use this technology and provide tactile feedback..

This fixes touchscreens (4, Interesting)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760051)

I hate the lack of tactile feedback on touchscreens. If this really solves that problem I'd love to see it used in ATMs and self checkouts.

Re:This fixes touchscreens (2, Interesting)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760361)

I'd love to see it used in ATMs and self checkouts.

My first thought was that it would be perfect for the Tesla Model S. [gizmodo.com]

Re:This fixes touchscreens (2, Insightful)

reashlin (1370169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760571)

My first though was that is would be the only option for the Tesla Model S.

Re:This fixes touchscreens (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760969)

You won't see them in ATMs.
This seems entirely non-vandal-proof.

Re:This fixes touchscreens (2, Funny)

Diamon (13013) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760993)

Just hope your PIN doesn't have a zero in it.

Re:This fixes touchscreens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27761783)

"I hate the lack of tactile feedback on touchscreens."

I've got a great idea! How about some kind of pad with buttons next to the screen!

Re:This fixes touchscreens (3, Funny)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762061)

And with a bit of effort, one could even offset the screen and the buttons, so that the user is not intuitively aware of a connection between button A and function A.

Full of hot air (5, Insightful)

BurzumNazgul (1163509) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760087)

If you read the article this isn't nearly as impressive as it sounds. The buttons are in a static configuration and need an air compressor to rise. They're going to need to come up with a more flexible method of tactile feedback if they want to create a useful technology. Back to the drawing board!

Re:Full of hot air (2, Interesting)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760159)

This is just Gen-1. I can imagine an array of small buttons, closely spaced, that can be raised en masse to simulate larger buttons. Use a piezoelectric fan to provide the air to the buttons one at a time, just like you direct electrons to a CRTs phosphers.

Re:Full of hot air (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760231)

To me its just another component to fail, and touchscreens have enough problems already. Is it cool enough to really rate the extra maintenance? Just get used to no buttons.

Re:Full of hot air (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27760577)

EVERYTHING is "just another component to fail". EVERYTHING. Yes, *that* too. EVERY THING. At least this might keep some idiot from having to stare at his GPS screen when it accidentally reboots and gives the huge "Caution" warning screen.

Re:Full of hot air (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760617)

There is a difference between a relatively low-maintenance thing like a touch screen, and a little air pump. Those pumps fail all the time.

Re:Full of hot air (1)

reashlin (1370169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760595)

A lack of tactile interaction is not just "a little odd" when it comes to some functions. Such as on a cars dashboard; braile etc.

Re:Full of hot air (1)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762313)

Its worth isn't in how "cool" it is but if it makes using touch screens on vehicle dashboards safer to use. The airbag was just another component to fail, but they install them anyway.

Re:Full of hot air (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760435)

That's my first reaction too, but then I realised that you could still do a lot of stuff with a static array of buttons if you were able to dynamically change the labels.

Course, there's still the size concern... obviously much better suited to an auto dash than a cell phone, in its current state.

Re:Full of hot air (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761785)

You have seen this [wikipedia.org] , right?

Re:Full of hot air (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760569)

They're going to need to come up with a more flexible method of tactile feedback if they want to create a useful technology.

Perhaps some mobile slime [slashdot.org] under the touch-surface membrane?

If they could ever get it fast enough.

Re:Full of hot air (1)

j-stroy (640921) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760771)

I had the same idea, probably you did too, but our name doesn't have nearly the clout as a "Researcher from Carnegie Mellon". After seeing their prototype, I could have made better.

My concept is: Little ridge lines around the areas of the "virtual button", needs less air, can be a more rigid material, because its only a small deformation, our finger tips are pretty good at sensing detail.

Another concept was an array of mechanical oscillators (tappers or vibrators) under the screen, so the buttons have different feeling, although the surface remains flat. For those with rare earth magnets [wired.com] in their fingertips, a little EM field would cause varying sensations. And I'm sure that the materials tech geniuses have, or very soon will have a plastic that will feel smooth or rough if they run a current inside it.

Re:Full of hot air (4, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761015)

Yeah... I thought the same thing - although granted, this is just "proof of concept" stage, right now.

It's also worth considering, though, the fact that this system allows for another "button state" you don't generally have with physical buttons. You have "raised", "flat" (no air compressor running), AND "convex" where the compressor is creating a vacuum, sucking the surface inwards.

Maybe that could be put to creative/good use?

Electricity (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761247)

It will probably be some silicon like material that will shrink or expand with more or less current. Either that or a layer of air/water between two surfaces, where the bottom surface can attract or repel the top one. Both would be preferable, so you could have check boxes or something like that dip and navigation buttons stick out.

The trick will be making it taut enough to feel right, or just training people not to mash down on the buttons like monkeys.

Re:Full of hot air (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762187)

Actually, Nokia took out a patent on a very similar device like this about 6 months to a year ago. The big difference was they used "tubes" of air (in both directions) in order to raise any given part of the screen.

Accessibility.... (5, Funny)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760167)

Of course. You can't just use a simple flat touchscreen in a vehicle dashboard. It would be impossible for a blind person to find the controls.

Re:Accessibility.... (5, Funny)

busman (136696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760265)

Of course. You can't just use a simple flat touchscreen in a vehicle dashboard. It would be impossible for a blind person to find the controls.

and this is bad? I'm all for stopping blind people from controlling vehicles. See enough of them on the roads in Ireland already ;-)

Re:Accessibility.... (3, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760549)

I'm all for stopping blind people from controlling vehicles. See enough of them on the roads in Ireland already ;-)

Ah, sometimes it's hard to moderate comments. Having driven in Ireland, I've no idea whether this is "funny", "informative" or "insightful". We need more options really... and probably more opticians too.

Re:Accessibility.... (5, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760445)

It would be impossible for a blind person to find the controls.

Trust me. If they can find the braille on the keyboards of drive through ATMs, they can find the braille on the control panel of a car.

Re:Accessibility.... (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760501)

Braille on drive-through ATMs is for blind passengers, not blind drivers. :p

Re:Accessibility.... (1)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760947)

Actually, the braille on the drive-thru keyboards is due to the fact that all the ATM keyboards are made to the same standard.

Why would it make sense to have a seperate process for making special, drive-through only ones?

Re:Accessibility.... (3, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761083)

Braille on drive-through ATMs is for blind passengers, not blind drivers.

Are you saying that a blind person can't use the ATM if they are a driver? Nonsense! How would the machine know if they are a driver or not?

Re:Accessibility.... (2, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761295)

Braille on drive-through ATMs is for blind passengers, not blind drivers.

Are you saying that a blind person can't use the ATM if they are a driver? Nonsense! How would the machine know if they are a driver or not?

Want to really screw around with people, try driving thru an ATM backwards so the passenger can use the ATM. Some of the driveway clearances and curves can be challenging when done in reverse. Also as a bonus you get to stare at the driver behind you, which can vary from pleasant (if they're hot), to disturbing (if they continue to pick their nose anyway despite being face to face).

Re:Accessibility.... (1)

seinman (463076) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761739)

If you really want to piss people off, use a busy ATM, then pull up just two feet so the rear driver side passenger can use it after you. You wouldn't believe how many people flipped me off and honked at me for pulling that one.

Re:Accessibility.... (1)

reashlin (1370169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760605)

Yes because at 100mph I want to be looking down at the dashboard to see where the volume up button is. Using a standard tactile dash I can feel it and I can feel if I've missed it. I don't have to take my eyes off the road.

Re:Accessibility.... (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760719)

Yes because at 100mph I want to be looking down at the dashboard to see where the volume up button is. Using a standard tactile dash I can feel it and I can feel if I've missed it. I don't have to take my eyes off the road.

Or you could just turn the fucking knob.... What is it with kids these days?

Grumble. Grump.

Re:Accessibility.... (1)

imboboage0 (876812) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761459)

So true. In my car, I replaced the head unit with a model from Sony that doe stuff like... play CDs. The two biggest requests I had looking for it? The screen wasn't obnoxiously bright and blue so I can actually drive at night, and a big ass volume knob. Conveniently, it is at my fingertips reach when my hand is on the shifter, so looking down really isn't necessary.

Call me crazy, but I think a touchscreen radio/navigation system/TV/WTF system in my dash would be awfully distracting.

Re:Accessibility.... (1)

Chazerizer (934553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760841)

You jest, but I can't tell you how often I operate my car radio just by feeling the buttons with my right hand and knowing the order their in. Since my focus is on what's in front of me, I'm more or less "blind" to what the radio looks like. With the growing popularity of in-dash controls for nearly everything, I can't imagine why even this wouldn't have some level of popularity.

Slashdot logins are busted (3, Interesting)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760201)

I'm getting a lot of other people's accounts - including their private, unpublished emails and mod points.

WTF?

Re:Slashdot logins are busted (1)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760255)

Same here. Wonder if this will show up as being posted by the account that I appear logged in as instead of my own.

Re:Slashdot logins are busted (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760467)

Did it?

Re:Slashdot logins are busted (3, Funny)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760975)

No

Re:Slashdot logins are busted (2, Funny)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761001)

Nope, came in under my regular account name. Unless, of course, this is the imposter posting again...

Re:Slashdot logins are busted (5, Funny)

amentajo (1199437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762273)

Awesome. It showed my proper account name, PotatoFarmer, both times. I guess it's just a display error, then.

Log out, then log in again (1)

hwyhobo (1420503) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760299)

Logging out, then logging back in seems to have helped me (at least for now).

Re:Log out, then log in again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27760669)

How do I log out of Anonymous Coward again?
I never do seem to have mod points either. :(

Now I know why! Reality Master 201 keeps using up all my mod points!

Re:Slashdot logins are busted (0, Redundant)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760317)

Wooo neat! Time for me to REALLY post some trolls!!!

I am getting this too, by the way.

Just to comment on the porn thing? Seriously, porn drives MANY innovations and refusal to accept the porn industry could result in the death failure of your technology as Sony and Betamax can attest.

Re:Slashdot logins are busted (1)

skeeto (1138903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760319)

Yeah, I recently wrote a Greasemonkey script to adjust some things in Slashdot. When it seemed I was logged in as other people, I thought something was wrong with my script, but then I noticed I could moderate too. I thought I figured out some kickass hack until I saw your post.

Re:Slashdot logins are busted (1)

G0N70 (1542173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760329)

Anomaly detected!

Re:Slashdot logins are busted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27760333)

I wish xxxxxxxxx had mod points so I could mod you up.

Re:Slashdot logins are busted (2, Interesting)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760343)

Yeah, same here. Talk about a security problem...

Re:Slashdot logins are busted (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760379)

Well, what are you waiting for? Publish that shit, ho!

I want to read the novel-length screed about why the GPL is better than BSD license! And the MegaMan/Mr. Spock gay slash fiction! The proof that Commander Taco founded the GNAA! Come on, man! Snap to it!

Re:Slashdot logins are busted (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760523)

Me too. I resisted the temptation to play practical jokes and logged out and back in. If you're in my account and see this, please do me the same favour...

Re:Slashdot logins are busted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27760697)

Too late. I already friended you with that PopeRatzo guy. [Maniacle Laughter]

Re:Slashdot logins are busted (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760657)

Same here, but I don't see it now. Every time I reloaded slashdot I was a different user.

Re:Slashdot logins are busted (1)

Zaatxe (939368) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761379)

Hey! Don't you dare touch my privates!

new tech (1, Insightful)

greghodg (1453715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760203)

In about five years I'm going to come up with this great idea to actually use physical "buttons" to control things. Everyone will be clamoring to use my "pushbutton" technology to replace the ubiquitous touchscreens that everyone has come to despise so much.

More distractions. (4, Insightful)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760227)

They say this type of screen could be particularly useful when a simple, flat touch-screen is too distracting, for example in a vehicle dashboard.

I know we are obsessed with multitasking more and more, but no. Almost every automobile "accident" is caused by one or more people simply not paying attention, and I don't think we need to give them even more stuff to play with while driving.

If a touch screen is going to be too distracting for some situation, then mighty morphin power buttons are not the answer. The answer is wait until you are done with whatever you are doing, then use them.

Re:More distractions. (1)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760473)

Almost every automobile "accident" is caused by one or more people simply not paying attention, and I don't think we need to give them even more stuff to play with while driving.

Slightly off-topic, but yes. On a recent drive up the M1 (UK Motorway) I was amazed at the number of drivers with sat-navs switched on. Why? You CANNOT get lost driving up the M1. How many robotic voices were saying "Continue following the road ahead, Continue following the road ahead ,Continue following the road ahead"? The world's gone mad!

Re:More distractions. (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760911)

My sat-nav doubles as an MP3 player. I have it on so I can listen to music (well, podcasts as often as not), not necessarily because I need directions.

Re:More distractions. (1, Informative)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760509)

The answer is wait until you are done with whatever you are doing, then use them.

Sorry, I'm not going to wait. I'm sorry the Prius has a shitty touchscreen design so that I have to look away from the road to mess with the radio or A/C. It's my hot hippie girlfriend's car and obviously she can't drive while she's doing a line of coke off my dong. I simply cannot climax while driving unless I'm blaring "Heat of the Moment" by Asia, so I've got to change it now...ah yes, much better.

Re:More distractions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27760873)

troll?? c'mon now, this was pretty funny. when was the last time you heard a story involving climaxing and asia in the same sentence?

Prius-Driving Moderators (0, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761795)

I just took a drive from Kelseyville, CA to Santa Cruz, CA (and back a couple days later) and on the way down my lady and I were treated to many spectacular feats of shitty driving. We laughed about it the whole way because every bad driver was a member of a class stereotyped as being unable to drive. First and foremost, the worst drivers were Prius Owners who otherwise did not seem to share any particular characteristics; they were split about evenly gender-wise, and were generally racially representative of the 101 corridor. The second-most prevalent group of bad drivers were women, followed by Asians and then Mexicans. The Mexicans may have been induced to drive worse because of the bizarre sight of two (and only two) white people in a Chevy Astro on the 101.

Obviously, some of those Prius drivers have mod points.

Anyway, there is one problem with your analysis: hippies can't afford a Prius, only yippies and dippies. And by dippies, I mean the people too stupid to crank the numbers on the energy consumption of the production of the vehicle and its fuel and compare them to the numbers on buying a Golf TDI, which runs on more energy-efficient fuel (and even biofuels from waste if you look around) and gets better mileage... and isn't full of batteries.

Been there, done that. (4, Informative)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760297)

Well actually not I, but Apple have - see this patent filing story [appleinsider.com]

In fact, they mention using air as the actuator, as far back as 2007.

Nokia is doing it better (2, Interesting)

snarfies (115214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760305)

http://www.mydigitallife.info/2007/11/07/nokia-introduces-haptikos-touch-feedback-technology/ [mydigitallife.info]

The technology in this article isn't scalable, and the "touch screen" isn't transparent, it just has stuff projected onto it from below. The Nokia solution involves piezo sensor pads under the screen and engineered in a 0.1mm movement in the screen itself.

Not that I will ever purchase a phone that doesn't have actual physical buttons on it for when (not if, WHEN) the touchscreen breaks down. I'm just saying.

Re:Nokia is doing it better (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760603)

Not that I will ever purchase a phone that doesn't have actual physical buttons on it for when (not if, WHEN) the touchscreen breaks down. I'm just saying.

And I'm never purchasing a phone that doesn't have a touchscreen on it for when the physical buttons break down.

Yes, touchscreens have durability issues to be worked out, but I still firmly believe that in the long run, fewer moving parts == better.

Re:Nokia is doing it better (1)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761043)

I've seen treos where the keypads went before the touch screen, at least on HTC made phones (like the treo 750 and 755) the touch screen might not be the first point of failure. That being said, I can type text on the physical qwerty button much much faster than I've ever seen anybody correctly enter text into an iphone. (PS, no, I do not use the shortened text-speak that's so popular in text messages and those damn phone commercials)

Re:Nokia is doing it better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27762065)

Not that I will ever purchase a phone that doesn't have actual physical buttons on it for when (not if, WHEN) the touchscreen breaks down

Really. I had a notebook docking station fall on my iphone, metal hook first, and the entire screen cracked. It looked as if someone had shot it with a gun. But guess what, while it was a bit tricky to read and you could cut your fingers on it, the touchscreen STILL WORKED PERFECTLY.

Re:Nokia is doing it better (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762185)

There is no corrugation on the nokia screen, it just clicks. So no, they're not doing it better. The airpump system is probably not the best solution, but at least the effect of individual buttons is there.

Will drain your battery in 0.3 nanoseconds (3, Interesting)

brasselv (1471265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760341)

It's just a proof of concept, ok.

But the concept itself suffers a major limitation: any pressurized, pneumatic-based approach will consume too much power to be eligible for a portable device - where battery life is usually key.

Not coming to your iPhone anytinme soon.

Re:Will drain your battery in 0.3 nanoseconds (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761051)

Unless you use initially pressurized gas as "fuel".

The "charger" may contain a pump that fills a small container with pressurized air - enough to last one battery charge. Then as GUI elements are required, the pre-charged container is being depleted. You don't need much of the air.

Also, a phone with a built-in lighter.

Re:Will drain your battery in 0.3 nanoseconds (1)

srollyson (1184197) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761997)

We'll call it the iHindenburg!

Clever idea... (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760357)

First question I have though is what kind of a tactile feedback is possible? Would this eventually make a keyboard that I'd want to use for hours at a time?

-jcr

Re:Clever idea... (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760601)

No, but it can make a pair of inflatable fake boobs that you'd want to use for minutes at a time!

Mighty Morphing Power Buttons!! (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760491)

The theme song is in my head... what's worse, it's the WRONG song! It's actually the theme music to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

"Mighty Morphin' Power Buttons! Mighty Morphin' Power Buttons! Heros with a bash shell!"

Display Induced Tactile Feedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27760535)

Here's a patent application that does something similar (and arguably more usefull). It can be attached to many touch screens and uses the output luminance of the screen itself to produce the tactile feedback using a specialized fluid.

http://www.google.com/patents?id=EtWPAAAAEBAJ/ [google.com]

RIM (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760575)

This is the kind of tech I though RIM would research before jumping the touchy-feelie screen bandwagon. But noooooo, they'd rather the Blackberry be an iPhone me-too...

Good start, needs improvement (1)

sohmc (595388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760677)

I'm not going to repeat the many comments criticizing this but I've actually expected this as the next development for some time. Mainly from the standpoint from my iPhone. I can't actually feel where the "5" key is on the phone, where as most other phones, you can feel the bump. It would be easier to dial so I wouldn't have to look down at the screen.

DeLorean (1)

LunarEffect (1309467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760761)

That keypad looks like it came straight out of the Back to the Future DeLorean =)

Not really that useful for cars (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760907)

The ideal interface for the car is a mixture of buttons, touchscreen, and voice. Buttons for selecting the device to control down the side, more buttons for the major device modes down the bottom, gigantic touchscreen landing areas for controlling the major subfunctions. (Optional) voice recognition could be (again, optionally) modal as well to minimize the potential for erroneous recognition. The biggest problem people usually make with the interface is to put too much shit on it at once. This means the user is occasionally having to read small text on a screen, which just doesn't work while driving.

So close... (1)

Spice Consumer (1367497) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761115)

Wouldn't a touch screen with Morphine buttons be more fun?

Many applications are possible (3, Interesting)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761137)

Am I the only one who read about these buttons and immediately imagined a full-screen braille reader for visually impaired users?

Did something like this for a project (1)

Theovon (109752) | more than 5 years ago | (#27761303)

Actually, I'm sure that many people can say they've come up with something like this. What's cool is that these people are commercializing it. My project idea involved putting small B/W LCD displays inside an array of physical push-buttons. Along with another larger fixed display, we had a fairly flexible device whose buttons could mean anything.

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