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CMU Researchers Create Multitouch Surface Anywhere

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the but-can-it-talk-like-a-parrot dept.

Input Devices 81

tekgoblin writes "In a joint effort between Microsoft and the Carnegie Mellon Human Computer Interaction Institute, a new interface has been born. The new interface is usable on any surface, including notebooks, tables, walls and body parts. The UI is completely multitouch and worn on the shoulder, which will turn any surface you are pointing at into a usable workspace by the combination of a projector and a 3D modeling device similar to the Kinect."

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Bulky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747864)

Looks bulky!

Computations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747940)

The preformance of the Triple-core 64-bit PowerPC has allow microsof to do serious computations.

Re:Bulky (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747998)

It is a PoC, Proof of Concept.

It seems MS stumbled on the next gen tech with their Kinect device and freelance modding to show what it is capable of.

It also shows that innovation is still out there, but who has benefited from this? Corporations or the modders?

Re:Bulky (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#37749740)

It is a Proof of Concept.

I thought it was the Shoulder Cannon [jokerdesigns.com] of the Predator

Re:Bulky (1)

xTantrum (919048) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748182)

god yes and geeky. It's like a retainer for your shoulders.

hm... (5, Informative)

Lockyy (2486084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747874)

I'm pretty sure I saw this absolutely ages ago. It was an open source project so you could do it yourself and it was just a projector and a camera on a thing around your neck. The video had them playing a racing game on a piece of paper, they turned the car by tilting the paper. In fact, I'm going to find an article. http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/02/ted-digital-six/ [wired.com] There, already done by MIT.

Re:hm... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747888)

This is completely different. You wear it on your shoulder - NOT around your neck. And you no longer need to wear colored caps on your finger tips.

Re:hm... (2)

Lockyy (2486084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747908)

Changing the location of the camera doesn't exactly make it completely different .The lack of a need for finger caps is nice, but that purely means it's a refinement of an existing piece of technology. The slashdot summary just made it out like a completely new idea when it's already been done. I admit, it's a great piece of tech and a much needed advancement from what was done at MIT but it's not a new interface being born.

Re:hm... (1)

LucidBeast (601749) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748162)

I saw something like this from Nokias research guys last fall in Amsterdam Symbian conference. They didn't have it mounted on the shoulder predator style and it was running on a Symbian phone so I guess it's not as cool... Can't find a link for it...

Re:hm... (0)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748180)

Y'all are missing the point. The key word here is anywhere. That means it will work inside the core of the sun (or whichever part is the hottest). Now that's an achievement!

Re:hm... (0)

Lockyy (2486084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748376)

We can finally see inside Hogwarts?!

Re:hm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37749974)

Y'all are missing the point. The key word here is anywhere. That means it will work inside the core of the sun (or whichever part is the hottest). Now that's an achievement!

The projector display must be pretty bright.

Re:hm... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750618)

Lemme guess, you're a patent examiner?

Re:hm... (1)

nomel (244635) | more than 2 years ago | (#37751944)

The colored finger tip caps let you do something that's computationally simple, like blob detection....so, they were more of an indicator of non-programmable gpus and relatively slow cpus at the time. You pretty much need a programmable gpu to do it real-time without blobs, and those only partially existed, using shader language hacks, before the modern video cards that support CUDA and openCL.

Re:hm... (2)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747942)

And I'm pretty sure when apple releases a similar device in a few years time, people will think they invented it, too.

Re:hm... (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748056)

And I'm pretty sure when apple releases a similar device in a few years time, people will think they invented it, too.

Why not, the MS fanbois did too:
http://what-is-what.com/what_is/microsoft_surface.html [what-is-what.com]

The problem is that MS gives it's products very generic names (Office, Media Player) and therefore hijacks the terms. How many people know that _other_ office suits even exist? Surface, isn't that a Microsoft innovation?

Re:hm... (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748110)

The point I was trying to make (possibly rather poorly) was that whomever invented it tends to get overshadowed by whomever makes it popular

Re:hm... (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748606)

Yes, I was corroborating your observation!

Re:hm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37748212)

The problem is that MS gives it's products very generic names (Office, Media Player) and therefore hijacks the terms.

And the time they tried to enforce any kind of trademark on generic names the judge told them to go to hell. You can't trademark generic names so it is not a problem.
The problem with Apple is that they are successful when they try to abuse the system. (And that retards believe them when they claim tht they invented the wheel.) If the courts just could tell them to fuck off and that they will be fined next time they try to pull any crap then it wouldn't be a problem.

Re:hm... (2)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748792)

I got one of my relatives an iPad, and while she was showing it off to her friends, the Microsoft surface came up, so I had them watch the youtube parody [youtube.com] using the iPad

They thought the table was a great idea. Despite watching an unflattering parody video about it, on a device that already has a fairly large screen and a multi-touch interface and which fits in a backpack.

Re:hm... (1)

YouDieAtTheEnd (2471718) | more than 2 years ago | (#37749032)

Hold on a second there, Surface doesn't work the same way as these other projects. Only the original used actual cameras and they weren't tracking objects by depth but were registering contacts on the touch surface by measuring the IR contrast they created. The screen itself in the production models integrates a high def display with the IR backlight and the IR sensors so that it can be about the thickness of a table and you don't need a projection gap on the front or back. You also have the fact that the whole unit is meant to act as a device for storing and editing large amounts of information and not just as a UI, it's also in no way meant to be portable. Any of these differences are significant enough to say these projects are not the same technology. It's like you're comparing a desktop PC to an iPod and saying the desktop is copying the iPod. Oh yeah, and did I mention development on Surface started back in 2001? [1] [wikipedia.org]

Re:hm... (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748520)

...people will think they invented it, too.

Perfect opportunity to sue Samsung when they release it.

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on...

Re:hm... (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#37751380)

it's going to be called the iSuck

Re:hm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37748102)

There, already done by MIT.

Too bad the creator promised to release the source as open source and still has not done so.

Re:hm... (1)

Lockyy (2486084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748156)

I was unaware of this, I didn't follow it up after reading about it back in '10 and thought they'd done it way before I found out about it. Very disappointing. Maybe they got picked up by Microsoft?

Re:hm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37748270)

Yes. And it wasn't MS connected. Thus a new idea and a press release.
It took their genius lab four years to reproduce aliases (unix links) in windows.

Re:hm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37748612)

From the paper:

The emergence of pico-projectors has enabled a new class
of worn, on-body projected interactive systems. SixthSense
[18] and Interactive Dirt [17] both featured a worn camera/projector combination. Finger tracking was achieved by
wearing fingertip markers (e.g., color or IR reflective). In
contrast to our system, true touch interactions were not possible since the two systems could not differentiate between
clicked and hovering fingers. This was partially due to the
systems’ inability to track surfaces in the environment,
which also made it impossible to have the projected interface change and follow the surface as it moved. Also of note
is Skinput [8], which uses bio-acoustics to detect finger tap
events on the skin. Skinput’s main limitations were its lack
of support for any surface other than the user’s body, its
inability to detect touch drag movements, and the lack of
support for multitouch. Although the system included a
pico-projector, no surface tracking was performed, requiring
users to position their arms at a predefined position.

Re:hm... (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | more than 2 years ago | (#37749600)

They also did it with Wii-motes.

Re:hm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37784588)

I'm pretty sure I saw this absolutely ages ago. It was an open source project so you could do it yourself and it was just a projector and a camera on a thing around your neck. The video had them playing a racing game on a piece of paper, they turned the car by tilting the paper.
In fact, I'm going to find an article.
http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/02/ted-digital-six/ [wired.com]

There, already done by MIT.

I've never even heard of this project by MIT, let alone made use of it (or own one). As far as I'm concerned MIT didn't do "it", which is making one of these I can own and use.

Now this IS augmented reality (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747912)

After all those GPS-tagging and 2D barcodes there finally is an AR idea that's actually useful. If they could design this into a convenient headgear that would be awesome.

Re:Now this IS augmented reality (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748006)

I was actually envisioning the Sci-Fi stuff where soldiers have camera type devices on their shoulders, on top of their armor.

You know what is the potential cooler part of this? Successful implementation for the blind.

Hah (2)

X.25 (255792) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747916)

Now we just have to wait for Apple to patent the concept of using this on a rectangular surface with rounded edges.

And in courts, whoever owns this technological patent would probably lose, while whoever patented a design that uses this invention would win.

I am getting lost.

Reminds me of sometihng... (2)

doohan (1829634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747922)

Ahh, so the Predator was just looking for a good surface to use for multitouch all along. Poor misunderstood Predator.

Porn! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747934)

I'm gonna turn every person i meet into a live3d interactive porn display surface!

Only viewable with the goggles... That finally do something.

Bring your own surface? (2)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747948)

I can see this having many cool applications (if only because it has a very good built in camera system, and a projector).

But I cannot see myself on a train, working for an hour literally on the back of my hand. I would probably still want a flat, white, sturdy surface to work on.
And... isn't a keyboard + mouse a million times cheaper than a projector + motion detection?

Re:Bring your own surface? (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748066)

But I cannot see myself on a train, working for an hour literally on the back of my hand. I would probably still want a flat, white, sturdy surface to work on.

You see, that would be the back of _my_ hand!

Re:Not new, MIT did this long time ago (3, Informative)

miknix (1047580) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748232)

http://www.pranavmistry.com/projects/sixthsense/ [pranavmistry.com]

'SixthSense' is a wearable gestural interface that augments the physical world around us with digital information and lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with that information.

There was also a TED talk about it. If you haven't seen it yet, you should, it is very inspiring and futuristic.

So yeah, another slow news day?

Re:Not new, MIT did this long time ago (0)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748478)

Mod that parent up, the video (and related) he links is incredible.

Re:Not new, MIT did this long time ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37756280)

'natural' hand gestures are culture based and can still vary by person. There is no UI to rule them all.

Re:Bring your own surface? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748348)

they see projector and motion detection being cheaper - as in less plastic - in the long run.

real problem is that it doesn't really make the computer output any better from the individual. like the minority report ui. sure it would be nice to watch some hot babe use it.. but it's an awful, awful ui for doing the work.

next up: crayons and cubicle walls are the new excel.

Re:Bring your own surface? (1, Interesting)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748508)

real problem is that it doesn't really make the computer output any better from the individual. like the minority report ui. sure it would be nice to watch some hot babe use it.. but it's an awful, awful ui for doing the work.

You say that based on what experiece?
I'm working in a "data center" right now.
Most people here have a desk that can be "lifted" so you can work with your computer while standing. Everyone has 2 or more screens.
Everyone is more or less working on the production environment, the prelife/preproduction environment and the UAT environment.
Besides the actuall doing, which is ofc done basically in bash, we use dozens of monitoring tools.
If you ever had seen a battlefield simulation or operation controllers using modern disaster survilance systems you would talk different ;D

I can immagine lots of usefull interactions and visualizations in software development ...

Sure, an office worker typing leters might not need it.

Re:Bring your own surface? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37748656)

And... isn't a keyboard + mouse a million times cheaper than a projector + motion detection?

At the moment yes but this is mostly because the development and production systems where paid off for those ages ago and the throughput is pretty massive.
If we just look at the material cost it is pretty obvious that the mouse and the keyboard would have to be of a certain size to be practical. (I can't imagine typing comfortably on a keyboard less than 40cm wide, even if we halve this the size is pretty large and even the simplest keyboard have more than 100 plastic details.
So yes, even if a keyboard and a mouse is cheaper for now there is not reason to why it will always be that way. The projector and motion detector has fewer moving parts and uses less raw material. The cost is mostly due to small series and long development times.

Re:Bring your own surface? (1)

hajile (2457040) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750890)

The best things in life are already multi-touch. *winks*

Rule 34 (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747954)

Here for the "any surface you are pointing at" comments.

Re:Rule 34 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37748224)

That hot chick on the train has a nice interface.

No lawsuit yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747972)

How long till Apple comes running and sues them? I mean Apple invented multi-touch after all; and shoulders of course.

Apple will sue them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747980)

if you project onto a black rectangle with rounded edges.

Re:Apple will sue them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37748022)

We're sorry, the shape you are trying to project on has been patented by another company, please try another surface or try again in a patent troll free country.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Microsoft (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748016)

Microsoft's page about this project [microsoft.com] also discusses "Pocket Touch", a capacitive touch panel's that's designed to work through clothing. The idea is that you could have a touch panel on the back of your phone (or whatever) that could respond to gestures while it's still in your pocket.

Re:Meanwhile, elsewhere in Microsoft (-1, Flamebait)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748086)

The idea is that you could have a touch panel on the back of your phone (or whatever) that could respond to gestures while it's still in your pocket.

Like this guy?
http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/10/15/0055242/us-bishop-charged-for-not-reporting-priests-child-porn-to-police [slashdot.org]

Re:Meanwhile, elsewhere in Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750164)

Pocket pool?

Impractical for 3 reasons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37748036)

You'd want to use it when you're out & about, not always indoors. Those projections will be washed away in direct sunlight. 'Wearable' yes, but indoors-only.

Not pet friendly - I can see my cat going blind when I walk around with the projector shining down.

Also does the wearer have to lug an XBOX and power supply along in a backpack?

Any others you can think of?

Not a new breakthrough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37748044)

This already exists, and it is called Sixth Sense. The inventor is Pranav Mistry. Take a look at his TED talk:

http://www.ted.com/talks/pranav_mistry_the_thrilling_potential_of_sixthsense_technology.html

Using a variation of this technology... (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748046)

I would love to see a wrap around work surface, that rolls up at the back and is translucent. A series of projectors below, project images onto the bottom of the work space. A camera above watches your hands. On the great big beautiful work surface, everything is multi-touch sensitive. Everything is accessible and can be managed by a wide selection of interactive models (everything from 3D mind-maps to a typical business desktop, and a hundred other working interfaces.) In fact depending on the task at hand, you can choose completely different working surfaces. Editing a movie, composing music, painting, writing the great American novel or 3D modeling whatever you want, the environment can be configured to fully support that task or activity. You can have your favorite surfaces saved and easily accessible. Combine this with a Seri-like speech cognition engine. Make the surface acoustically transparent and place a small array of speakers behind the projectors so an apparent sound image can move around with whatever is being projected.

Such a system would transform creativity. Literally unleash invention. When the machine becomes a simple tool, that you can talk to, and that reflects what you can you can dream of by simply moving your hands and fingers. Imagine what you could create with such a machine? The mind boggles.

Obsession with touch screens (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748050)

Yes, I want to trade in my 2000 dpi mouse for my clunky index finger that probably shakes more than the entire traverse of my mouse every time my heart beats. Please.

Re:Obsession with touch screens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37748392)

Why would you trade? Why couldn't you use each technology in the most appropriate situation? Why does everything have to be absolute?

Researches at MS must work less... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37748138)

...just because you don't like the company, right?
  When it's a joint effort between MS and CMU, only CMU deserves the headline? CMU/MS, there, three more characters.
Slashdot, your bias is showing~

Consideration about Asus/Microsoft sensor (1)

meliortony (2487644) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748158)

I don't understand why you have to use a sensor for gesture recognition to re-invent the touch screen (I suggest this link where you can find a lot of opensource applications http://arena.openni.org/ [openni.org] ). Maybe it is time to re-think the concept of human-computer interaction considering the idea of using gesture to control an electronic device.

OmniTouch? (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748184)

I thought a multi-touch device sitting on your shoulder would be called Polly-Touch!

Re:OmniTouch? (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748686)

That is in all honesty a very good name for a shoulder-mounted gadget such as this. :-)

Re:OmniTouch? (1)

MrBandersnatch (544818) | more than 2 years ago | (#37749350)

I must admit I love the term *grin*

Re:OmniTouch? (1)

Anomalyst (742352) | more than 2 years ago | (#37749972)

Pieces of Windows 8!
Polly wants a tracker! AWK (or do you prefer PERL?)!

If this is to take off- (1)

Zaldarr (2469168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748234)

The real question remains- can it be used for porn? Bam. Millions of sales... and the world grows slightly sadder.

Finding the "G Spot" (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748302)

The application to body parts raises sensitive questions.

Prior Art (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748460)

Pranav Mistry at MIT Media Lab demonstrated something similar at a TED talk in 2009 [ted.com] . His was slung about the neck. He and his advisor, Pattie Maes, called it Sixth Sense.

Re:Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37749858)

Thank god someone pointed this out. Totally a rip off. I bet they stole the design off one of the Maker forums or something, considering that it's just using Kinect and people have been hacking that thing since day one.

Haven't you all learned, this is the typical M$ mantra... Hey look, we're selling a nifty new gadget that someone else invented. For only $999.99, plus shipping and handling, it can be yours. Please just ignore the fact that the actual inventor is giving it away for free, our giant mega corporation will ONLY take your soul but it's totally better than the original.

Then of course we'll get Apple's take two years down the road... Hey look, we're selling a new "re-invented" version with more bells and whistles. We even made it idiot proof, although you will have to ignore the fact that it makes you dumber every time you use it.

Oh where is Steve Jobs? :( (0)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748640)

I'll probably get immediately modded down but this is the sort of thing that Apple (Steve Jobs) could've taken and cleaned up to make into something not just usable but something people WANT to use.

Unfortunately, in the hands of Microsoft it'll languish and maybe come out as some minor curiosity like Microsoft Surface.

So sad.

Anyway, it'd be nice if, as the hardware evolves, they could put the camera and projector in a users glasses. Not only would it make it less dorky but there would be much less shadowing since the light source could be very close to the light sensors (the camera and the users eyes!). As for the electronics, perhaps the projector (and camera) could be a simple optics assembly connected to the guts (laser/LED, CMOS, storage, power) on the users belt like an iPod (remember those?). Maybe instead of those ubiquitous white earbuds we would have white "eye buds" to clip onto glasses.

Hmmm... Can I patent that?

Re:Oh where is Steve Jobs? :( (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37749146)

Yeah they really dropped the ball with Kinect. Hardly anybody wants to use that.

Re:Oh where is Steve Jobs? :( (1)

CSHARP123 (904951) | more than 2 years ago | (#37752290)

He is Dead. Didn't you read the news? Where you've been? Living under the rocks.

Yawn... (1)

ghetto2ivy (1228580) | more than 2 years ago | (#37748838)

I'll wait till the version with 3 dots and the little missiles comes out.

Where do you connect the cables? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37748912)

It looks like you have to stick them in you ass, check the photos!!!

This is perfect... (1)

aurb (674003) | more than 2 years ago | (#37749088)

... for those who like to touch themselves!

Shoulder-mounted projector? (1)

Guppy (12314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37749280)

The UI is completely multitouch and worn on the shoulder, which will turn any surface you are pointing at into a usable workspace by the combination of a projector and a 3D modeling device similar to the Kinect.

Please let me set the default cursor to three little red dots [imdb.com] .

Avoid those lawsuits (1)

horza (87255) | more than 2 years ago | (#37749330)

All well and good, but just don't try pointing at any surface that might happen to be black with rounded corners.

Phillip.

gestures (1)

xyourfacekillerx (939258) | more than 2 years ago | (#37749610)

too bad they don't own patents on what will likely become common gestures.

I'm working on something similar... (2)

MrBandersnatch (544818) | more than 2 years ago | (#37749836)

for my masters, but sadly without the advantages of having access to a custom PrimeSense camera (I had initially looked at the kinect but the 50cm minimum range makes things rather awkward). Lordy, I'm almost embarrassed at how primitive what I'm working on is in comparison to this piece of work (in my defence though, part-time, unfunded student, and its a HCI rather than comp-sci oriented masters).

This is fantastic stuff since THE primary problem I'm seeing in creating any usable interaction from Wearable Gestural Interfaces such as this is in getting accurate and reliable computer vision techniques working to detect finger/hand positioning. Time of flight cameras solve this of course and shoulder mounting, although it looks strange, is actually a very good use of the body for placement since its an area that is seldom obstructed and relatively safe from being knocked when moving around. Personally, where I see this evolving is so that devices such as these end up being similar to large closed-cup headphones that you wear around your neck - does saying that make the concept prior art? *grin*

So I guess I'd better ensure this one makes it into my lit review...luckily I'm looking at something slightly different since my focus is primarily on the use of in air gestures for command and control and the projector is really secondary....but damn it would have been nice to have access to some of the underlying depth sensing tech.

Oh http://os6sense.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] if anyone is interested

Projected from... (1)

eegad (588763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750638)

a little lens, maybe mounted over one of my eyes. And if that lens also shot red laser beams well then I think we'd have a product.

I've seen similar things at SIGGRAPH (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750978)

It was a virtual keyboard on any surface implemented by lasers. This could be readily generalized to multi-touch I presume.

This opens the possibility of much smaller mobile computing devices if you dont need a physical screen, but just a laser port or two. That could fit in a ring, watch, keychain, etc.

Body parts? (1)

bwcbwc (601780) | more than 2 years ago | (#37754930)

I see a great future for this technology in the porn industry and in strip clubs.

Arrrrh!, Jim lad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37760244)

Pretty polly, pretty polly. Why is that man wearing a Parrot on his shoulder?!

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