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BendDesk Merges Computer, Monitor and Desk

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the what-a-posture dept.

Displays 152

cylonlover writes "Researchers from Aachen University's Media Computing Group have created a computer workstation called the BendDesk where the desk and screen are transformed into one multi-touch display. The display is curved at the middle and uses infrared emitters and cameras to track user movement over the whole of the surface, which has its graphical user interface beamed onto it by a couple of short throw projectors hidden within its wooden frame."

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152 comments

Awesome for the disorganized (5, Funny)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404144)

Great. Now I can be disorganize on two planes!

PEBCAK (2)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404220)

I hope they don't merge the chair right in, otherwise we'll have to say problem is intermelded with chair, keyboard, and desk!

Re:PEBCAK (1)

Beat The Odds (1109173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404524)

You certainly have a PEBKAC

You can't even get the acronym correct!

Re:PEBCAK (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34405052)

Because something can be between the chair and keyboard but NOT between the keyboard and chair?????

Re:PEBCAK (1)

berwiki (989827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34406090)

I love how the prototype looks like crap. Seriously, it made me smile.
Generally prototypes are so polished and finalized, they aren't even prototypes anymore. They are more like "2 seconds away from production" prototypes.

Re:PEBCAK (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34406110)

I hope they don't merge the chair right in, otherwise we'll have to say problem is intermelded with chair, keyboard, and desk!

Horatio Cane prefers to stand while flinging photos and zooming into a reflection bouncing off of spent brass ejecting from the suspect's Glock to count the warts on the suspect cheek from behind, and across the street.

Does it come with sunglasses?

Re:Awesome for the disorganized (2)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404528)

I always have to keep ONE desktop clean. When I'm at work, I've got shortcuts to all these various spreadsheets, random applications, little batch files, it's a mess all over. My actual work desk has to remain clean so my boss isn't embarassed when the CEO comes by for a chat.

At home, I've got maybe 8 or so icons for the rudimentary stuff, everything else can be accessed via some hotykey combination or is pinned to the task bar or something - so the desktop wallpaper is clear and visible at all times. However - last weeks box of pizza, and about a dozen grape soda cans take up a majority of the space.

Re:Awesome for the disorganized (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405728)

My actual work desk has to remain clean so my boss isn't embarrassed when the CEO comes by for a chat.

I have two offices for that.

1 clean office with windows.
1 complete cluster crap where real work get's done, that's in the Old server room with the elevated floor and 2 workbenches.

I am NEVER in my office except for holidays when nothing is getting done or for the dog and pony show, those are the days I come in a suit and tie.

My other office when asked when I will clean it I always ask back, Any time you want, how much of a productivity hit and slip on your project time tables are you willing to accept? They usually say "dont worry about it" after they realize that I will take time from THEIR project to clean the office. It's not messy, just 80 pounds of stuff crammed into a 5 pound bag. Their fault for not giving me a larger room to occupy for my lab.

Re:Awesome for the disorganized (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405954)

1 complete cluster crap where real work get's done, that's in the Old server room with the elevated floor and 2 workbenches.

These neat freaks are being silly.

What next, are they going to tell their heart surgeon to make sure all the scalpels and other surgery tools are in their respective drawers during the operation, so that the work environment is totally neat and tidy?

There's a difference between clean and neat. There's a difference between organized and tidy.

Fugly (3, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404156)

They need to work on the carpentry of the desk before they sell very many. It looks like something an eighth grader might construct. It looks like a programming project (measure with a micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with a chain saw). It definately needs asthetic attention.

Re:Fugly (1)

retech (1228598) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404182)

They're trying to be just like Apple. Start off with rough sawn wood and in 2 decades they'll be a minimalists dream.

Re:Fugly (3, Insightful)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404192)

There's a reason it's still a prototype. Sheesh.

Re:Fugly (1, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404386)

Just because it's a prototype doesn't mean it should be constructed sloppily.

Re:Fugly (5, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404496)

Respectfully disagree. The prototype's purpose is to show the feasibility of the usage paradigm, not satisfy your arbitrary aesthetic passions.

Re:Fugly (3, Interesting)

solaraddict (846558) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404754)

Which it, incidentally, also fails to do: from TFA, testers tend to use the surface as two separate screens, which sort of makes the hassle with curved surface quite pointless; and don't get me started on the horrible UX of large, upright touchscreens.

Re:Fugly (4, Interesting)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405022)

Well, yes and no. The paradigm the developers went in with was thrown out. But continued reading shows that they ended up with new ideas - ones that don't necessarily change the bent desk paradigm, but merely how to present a useful UI projected on to it. The examples included a docking bar put on the curve, or temporary storage of icons/windows. It's this type of real-world-ish feedback that makes prototypes so useful.

Re:Fugly (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#34406018)

if it can be shown that multi-touch really is _that_ useful then the vertical touchscreen would have value as long as it also included standard mouse support. The continuous curved surface only has a benefit if there's a use case for touch usage from one screen to the other. And _throwing_ objects on the screen from one to the other surface completely bypasses the need for the curved screen.

This does make me wonder if anyone's made a camera based multi-touch display using a standard LCD display minus the backlight instead of using projectors. You'd still need a box behind it so the camera(s) can see the touches but a lighted box behind a standard LCD might be cheaper than using projectors. Will have to google this.

LoB

Re:Fugly (3, Insightful)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404766)

Did you just say "feasibility of the usage paradigm" and mean it?

Re:Fugly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34405732)

She did.
Your folks must be proud- you can copy & paste.
For your next step away from being stupid, try this [mirriam-webster.com].

Re:Fugly (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34407416)

What's wrong with "feasibility of the usage paradigm", except for the fact that it's the sort of writing you see in scientific, marketing, and government reports? I agree that "useability" would have been far more concise, but if she has to write that sort of jargon on a daily basis, it's hard to skip to a more readable 8th grade level. She may well nbe an astrophysicist or a grad student.

I'd rather see writing like that than "LOL, this design iz 2 hrd 2 reed".

OT, but (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34407318)

To folks who read my journals, the parent poster is NOT the Sam in the journals. So don't give her a hard time, ok?

Re:Fugly (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405136)

This is what we get for cutting (nyuk nyuk) shop classes from school curricula.

Re:Fugly (1)

wondafucka (621502) | more than 3 years ago | (#34406756)

Just because it's a prototype doesn't mean it should be constructed sloppily.

You bring up a great point. Humans are inherently superficial, and will judge the quality of the macro on the visual aesthetic of the micro. Although the way a prototype looks has nothing to do with it's actual function or feasibility, it has a lot to do with whether a project will gain momentum.

As you go up the food chain, there are people who spend less and less time making decisions, based on fewer and fewer data. Really what it boils down to is upper management thinking one of these two things: "Gee, if I show this to MY boss, he'll think I'm a bad decision maker" or "Wow, this will make my boss think that I'm capable and that my team produces results".

The same applies to academia, only in that things that are sexy or compelling to and end consumer, product, or application will get preferential treatment.

On the other hand, I think you're a dick.

Re:Fugly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34407552)

Personally, the music in the video turned me off of it.

No keyboard (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404160)

Looks cool, but without a keyboard (and a virtual keyboard is a lousy substitute), I wonder who this is really for. And if the screen is projected, will documents really be readable? A screen this big is either going to have a ridiculously high resolution, or it's just not good enough.

Re:No mouse (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404248)

I never tried to type quickly on any touchscreen, but I am sure I can learn it.

I'd be more worried about no mouse. What if my task is to drag and drop stuff on the vertical part for 2 hrs (assuming I cannot automate the process)? Then I end up with my arm stretched in front of me for 2 hrs. I think I'll be tired before that time.

Re:No mouse (3, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404426)

Touchscreen rarely has the necessary responsiveness to enable you to type as you would on a keyboard.

Even writing this, I'm writing 10-15 characters a second, spread all over the keyboard, with only a tiny gap between each. My fingers know when to "bounce" up because they feel the button hit bottom. Touchscreen generally can't handle anywhere near that speed, accuracy, or tactile response (the biggest problem with even the most expensive touchscreens on public display - watch old grannies stab at the thing like it's a disobedient child because it just doesn't feel like the clicks are registering).

It won't work. Won't fly in schools (vertical surface = interference with eye contact and/or that they have to be placed only along the walls, mucky fingers, expensive hardware, etc.). Won't fly in business (two clunky and huge and expensive, RSI would be terrible working at something that physical for 8 hours a day). Won't fly in public kiosks (too pointless when a flat screen would do the same).

And to be honest, why does it have to be curved at all? It could just be two projected displays at right angles and nobody would care.

Re:No mouse (1)

leehwtsohg (618675) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404552)

And to be honest, why does it have to be curved at all? It could just be two projected displays at right angles and nobody would care.

According to TFA, or TFV, it seems easier to drag documents across when it is curved. Your finger doesn't get stuck in the corner.

Re:No mouse (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404604)

RSI would be terrible working at something that physical for 8 hours a day

I think the opposite would be true. Working at something like that all day might be tiring, but it would be much less repetitive than the tiny, continuous movements imposed on us by keyboards and mice. I think the variation in movements, and the much larger movements, using large muscle groups as well as small muscles, would result in exertion that is much more similar to the work that people did prior to the information age. Not as strenuous as, say, farming, of course, but about as varied.

I also suspect that if you worked at something like that all day, not only would you not have repetitive stress injuries, but you'd build significant upper body strength and endurance. Nothing like lifting weights or doing hard labor, but I think you'd be stronger and more toned than the typical office worker today. That could be a good thing!

Type? (1)

MDillenbeck (1739920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404626)

Why type when you'll probably be able to swype! Sorry, not trying to plug a specific tech - just wanted to point out that there are alternative techs to the traditional finger press keyboard. Another option would be to add an inking area to allow for pen input (handwriting may be slower, but most of us know how to do that at a moderate speed).

Re:No mouse (2, Interesting)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404610)

I never tried to type quickly on any touchscreen, but I am sure I can learn it.

It'll never be the same, though. You don't get the tactile feedback that you get from a real keyboard.

I'd be more worried about no mouse. What if my task is to drag and drop stuff on the vertical part for 2 hrs (assuming I cannot automate the process)? Then I end up with my arm stretched in front of me for 2 hrs. I think I'll be tired before that time.

Good point. The screen/desk/whatever it is is clearly made for dragging stuff. But how ergonomic is it to do that for a long time?

On the other hand, teachers seem to be quite able to draw on a vertical blackboard for a long time.

Re:No mouse (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405624)

Iirc, there is research on electrical surfaces that can simulate even something like dragging fingers over fur.

Haptic feedback research is big stuff these days.

Re:No mouse (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#34406818)

> It'll never be the same, though. You don't get the tactile feedback that you get from a real keyboard.

Mod parent up.

This is the reason a "driving wheel + computer sim" is never close to the real thing. You don't FEEL the G's around a corner, feel when your tires are "about" to lose traction, etc. That said, I love racing sims. ;-)

Re:No mouse (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405282)

In the first place, it's probably designed so that moving your hand would equal moving a mouse. In the second place, painters, sculptors, carpenters, electricians, all sorts of folks use their arms like that all the time. Unless you're handicapped it should be no problem.

Re:No mouse (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405564)

It probably wouldn't be hard to move that task to the lower plane instead. Also I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to plug a keyboard in and have it sitting on your interactive desk. Seriously, did a touch-screen touch Slashdot as a child or something?

Re:No mouse (1)

silanea (1241518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34407092)

I have used a similar system [slashdot.org] and I found it indeed quite straining to drag stuff over longer distances for prolonged periods of time. The major issue, though, was not moving stuff within one surface but dragging items up from the horizontal to the vertical surface. It requires a very uncomfortable turning of the hand along the way to get over the curve. So it is not really suited for dragging objects around en masse.

Re:No keyboard (1)

silanea (1241518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34406918)

I have recently used a similar, but subtly different prototype [curve-project.org] at Munich's Ludwig Maximilian University, which essentially links the images of two Full-HD beamers. So yes, documents are perfectly legible even on these surfaces.

At least in the Munich project the touch functionality is offered in addition to mouse and keyboard. It is also possible to use a translucent silicone "keyboard" on the horizontal surface and have the machine project the actual keys onto (or rather, below) it and have the touch surface register the "key" presses on the silicone in the same way as with a truly virtual keyboard. Other input devices can be similarly simulated by putting objects onto the surface.

TRON? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34404168)

Let me guess... this will appear in the new TRON movie?

Why stop there? (2, Funny)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404170)

Now add to that merger a chair, toilet, and sex robot and you'll have office equipment that will really sell.

Re:Why stop there? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404258)

Now add to that merger a chair, toilet, and sex robot and you'll have office equipment that will really sell.

Ummmm ... maybe for home use. But, there's enough nuisances in a cubicle farm without adding either "toilet" or "sex robot".

People on con-calls with hands-free is bad enough -- what you describe is terrifying. I don't want to have to call HR, but ... ;-)

Re:Why stop there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34404286)

You can improve the design and merge chair and toilet together!

Re:Why stop there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34404320)

why would you need a chair and toilet? =P

Re:Why stop there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34405970)

why would you need a chair and toilet? =P

I guess it's because one would not want to sit in their own feces.

Re:Why stop there? (1)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404448)

Now add to that merger a chair, toilet, and sex robot and you'll have office equipment that will really sell.

In fact, forget the chair, toilet, and desk.

Re:Why stop there? (1)

tulcod (1056476) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404486)

I actually do wonder why this article hit the front page. It's a hack, it's not a product, and worse it's more inconvenient than the iPad. Sure, the guys did a great build, but some hardware our heroes use in scifi just doesn't work in real life.

Ergonomics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34404206)

Biggest gorilla arm ever!

Sounded good .... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404236)

It sounded good right up until

The user interface is beamed onto the rear of the acrylic board at 1024 x 768 resolution

I realize it's a prototype, and more will be added, so I'm not gonna kvetch too much about it. But, to be useful, we need to be taking the resolution up to like 8000x8000 or more so it's like tiling a good monitor onto a huge area.

Still, the idea of my desk and monitor all being one big honking surface would be awesome. Although, it would have to be pretty durable to survive coffee, feet, and everything else that you need your desk for.

Pretty cool tech (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404250)

I've had the opportunity to play around with Microsoft's Surface and found it to be quite interesting. This looks like it would be better for daily use. The main problem I had with the surface is how uncomfortable it is to use in its standard configuration. Having a desk like this could allow for many cool interfaces, allowing us to get to a point where computers more easily provide help with daily tasks. This would be great for people doing design or research, where things both physical and digital are important to the process.

Cooling (1)

LordAzuzu (1701760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404260)

I wonder how are they supposed to cool the whole stuff? I just can't figure out what temperature could be into that box because of the projector...
This will be the most noisy desk ever.

Re:Cooling (1)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404366)

If this were to be manufactured industrially, mounting the projectors inside a sound insulated and cooled enclosure is not a problem.
Microsoft already did it with one projector in Surface. Two projectors in a far larger enclosure should not be a major challenge.

Re:Cooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34404368)

Put a couple of large slow moving fans? They wouldn't be that noisy. They could use stock projectors, which make them easier to replace, more modular, etc. but have the drawback of the noisy projector fan. Or they could put customized projectors inside that don't need to be packaged so tightly, and slower, bigger, and quieter fans to cool the projector.

Re:Cooling (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404398)

It shouldn't be too hard to use a flexible and less power-hungry display like OLED [google.com], even if it takes a few years to have screens that big.

I know there is google but.. (1)

anonymousNR (1254032) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404324)

really!! no link to original source?
<rant>My stories get rejected even interesting and with source links </rant>

Touchscreens vs. Touchless (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404350)

It looks cool, but it seems like it will need to be cleaned almost daily from all the touching.

A touch-free interface seems like it will be the next generation interface. [tested.com]

Re:Touchscreens vs. Touchless (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404432)

Why touch free? Tactile feedback works well.

I still miss clicky keyboard buttons. My old old Compaq had bios that could adjust the sound for the clicking to your preference.

For entering text, you can't beat a real hardware keyboard for accuracy.

Maybe touch screen or touchless makes sense for a few jobs, but for 95% of day-to-day work (email, writing docs, browsing web, entering data) the current standard is pretty close to optimal.

Re:Touchscreens vs. Touchless (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404724)

Side note: The old IBM buckling-spring keyboards are alive and well, built in Lexington Kentucky where IBM used to build their keyboards. The people who bought the old IBM equipment call themselves Unicomp, and their storefront is at http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/ [yahoo.net] and you get all the beautiful tactile feedback you can handle along with the wonderful clackity sounds.

Be polite. Buy your cubemates earplugs. :)

Re:Touchscreens vs. Touchless (1)

BassMan449 (1356143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404938)

How do you know that what we have is optimal? Just because a keyboard is fairly fast and is what we have now does not mean it is even remotely close to optimal. For most office tasks it is probably better than touch screens, but that doesn't mean we should stop looking for something to replace it. Maybe it is optimal and we never find a worthy replacement, but we won't know unless we try.

Re:Touchscreens vs. Touchless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34404720)

seems like it will need to be cleaned almost daily from all the touching.

Awesome, solves OH&S issues as well whilst it's at it. Forces proper work area cleaning habits.

Re:Touchscreens vs. Touchless (1)

solaraddict (846558) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404908)

[citation needed] - outside of Hollywood, the idea of actual physical feedback is doing quite well. I for one like to *feel* where one button ends and another starts, thankyouverymuch - something that touchless interface can't give you, per definition (oh, but then we can build touch feedback to the touchless interface! And something to rest your hands on! And we'll be back full circle where we started, but much more *high-tech*, yaaay.).

Prior Art (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404462)

Doesn't anyone research prior art anymore? They hardly invented or discovered a new idea.

Try the IBM 7090 desk console.

Bad picture at wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_7090 [wikipedia.org]

But if you google image search for it you'll find much cooler pix

Personally I always thought the 7090 was the pinnacle of gaudiness and I prefer the stylish neo-victorian look of the 701 series and the modern post WWII look of the System/370, which shows obvious stylistic cross pollination with ST:TOS. But to each their own.

Re:Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34404532)

Forget that - remember the bad guy's desk in Tron?

Re:Prior Art (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404916)

Doesn't anyone research prior art anymore? They hardly invented or discovered a new idea.

Try the IBM 7090 desk console.

Wait! You're claiming that a row of giant toggle switches and a handful of indicator lamps is prior art for a curved full color multi-touch display device?

Re:Prior Art (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34406010)

Doesn't anyone research prior art anymore? They hardly invented or discovered a new idea.

Try the IBM 7090 desk console.

That's as close to being prior art as the first caveman who realized that when he got to the corner of the cave he could keep painting on the next wall. Rotate 90 degrees and there is your prior art...literally.

Not to be confused with the kitchen table (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404478)

when undergoing special activities as it "uses infrared emitters and cameras to track user movement over the whole of the surface,"

boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34404512)

This still looks worse than the desk computer from the ORIGINAL Tron movie!

Not ergonomic at all (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404630)

Why two panes? I want ONE pane slightly tilted. Just like the ancient book stands, writing tables, etc. People were ergonomic in the middle ages, but apparently this knowledge is long lost, so we type down, look front and point somewhere right nowadays. Why? I want to look where I type and where I point. There, that wasn't hard, was it? That is an ergonomic solution. Not a digital reproduction of the torture apparatus that is still basically a 60's teletype terminal with a rodent attached.

Re:Not ergonomic at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34404698)

I want to look where I type and where I point.

Have you tried it, instead of assuming that methods developed around technical limitations of handwriting are necessarily more ergonomic? I for one prefer to keep my neck in a natural position instead of looking down onto my hands.

Re:Not ergonomic at all (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405790)

That doesn't make sense. With this, you have to look at your hands as they will be in direct contact with the part of the screen that you are interested in. Either you have the screen flat on the desk in which case you are constantly looking almost straight down or you have them both vertical in front of you which means keeping your arms raised for extended periods of time. Or you do what Errol suggests and have them both in an ergonomically friendly goldilocks angle. Rather than book stands and writing tables the example I would give is a drawing board - something like this [artdiscount.co.uk].

1990s touchscreens called... (2, Informative)

solaraddict (846558) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404702)

...and they want their gorilla hand syndrome back. As the makers themselves admit, completely lacking any ergonomy ("users tended to separate the vertical and horizontal planes and avoid using the curve as much as possible."). Working with your hand(s) above heart level is tiresome, for reasons entirely physiological - there's plenty of research for that, but we geeks just tend to dismiss it as NIH and assume "we know better", don't we? It's a very cool toy project, yes - but utterly impractical.

The Future: (1)

MDillenbeck (1739920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404750)

I can see it now. Come into work and no desk. Why? Monitor repair, system upgrade, scratched screen, adding pen capabilities, or whatever.

Also, is it just me, or does the prototype look like a control panel from an old nuclear reactor or other industrial facility? Oh well, guess it is just a prototype.

See also... (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404812)

... Starfire [asktog.com], a project by Bruce Tognazzini from 1992 when he was working at Sun. (He had previously been the founder of the Human Interface Group at Apple.)

Re:See also... (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#34406904)

Not to diss you, because that is exactly what I thought of to when I saw the headline, but Starfire _is_ mentioned if you Read The Fine Article :-)

What genius thought of this. (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404828)

Yes, I want a desk that I have to totally replace every time I upgrade my PC.

Yes, I want a desk surface that I should not eat on, put heavy items (stapler, phone, stack of 100 DVDS).

Yes, I want to pay all that extra money for an under the desk system that projects things onto a clear, fragile screen instead of simply using moding a Kinect or even the ThinkGeek Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard [thinkgeek.com] that I place on top of a regular desk.

The only good thing about this idea is giving me a huge screen, like the movies/tv shows always have hackers using.

Takes up way too much space on the back end... (2)

Maitri (938818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404994)

So let's say they solve the problem of it looking like some kid made it in shop class, you still have the really big problem of all the space needed behind the desk for the projecting. Granted the picture with the article might not be drawn to scale, but it looks like it would take about 1/2 the floor space in my cubicle and that I would also lose two of my wall shelves, definitely not a trade I would consider making...

Yay! Two-ton computers are in fashion again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34405106)

Put a handle somewhere and call it 'Portable'

Notes to computer interface visionaries (1)

Orgasmatron (8103) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405328)

If you think that there is something horribly wrong with the way we currently interact with computers, you are wrong.

And if your new paradigm involves getting rid of the keyboard and mouse (trackball, pad, whatever) combo, you have missed the problem so completely that you aren't even wrong any more. Hint: more precision is desired, not less.

I can see this device being useful for a few certain specialized tasks, but not for general computing, and certainly not for any of the examples they listed.

Oh, and if you think that in the future we'll deal with computers the way they did in Star Trek or Minority Report, you think that because some director thought that it would look cool on screen. If Star Trek was real, characters in their movies would have to deal with swatting at glowing balls of light or whistling or something equally stupid so that it would look futuristic and cool by comparison to their crappy dynamic touchscreens.

Already been done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34405484)

Touch screen overlays, including capacitive multi-touch have been around for a while.

Aside from a curvy bit, what does this add?

Just bolt on more/larger monitors and put a touch overlay on them, made of glass if you want to rest your hands on it.

another camera to spy on you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34405488)

underneath your clothes

Amateur Designs in Ivory Towers (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405524)

Where does work get done these days?

Who is going to throw out all their existing office table and equipment?

How much will it cost?

How do you deal with meetings, work outside the cubicle, out of the office, at job sites, etc.?

There is a reason laptops have risen to the top of the heap.

Laptops are UNIVERSALLY usable.

muscle fatigue obvious - need ergonomics designers (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 3 years ago | (#34406188)

An L-shaped interface has obvious restrictions on how it can be reconfigured.

The photo of the guy in the white t-shirt shows him reaching ahead at full stretch, and in the article they note testers suffered from muscle fatigue. Not surprising. Clearly the guy is at full stretch, reaching too far. Their prototype would benefit from a couple of hours consultancy with some industrial / furniture designers. Probably the guys in the next corridor down at the university. How you make this work for a range of people to sit at, rather than stand at, for tall and short, now that might be more tricky. Sitting down close to the edge of the desk, my comfortable / optimal arm reach might be X cms, while I can imagine a short person and a tall person might vary by +/- 10cm centimetres difference easily. Not sure how designers would deal with making suitable for a whole range of people sizes.

But I completely approve of university folk experimenting, if they can't, where can this stuff be tested out?

mod 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34406310)

an3 what supplies

Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34406448)

But will it run Linux?

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