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ZeroTouch Sensor: Ready For Large Televisions and Gaming

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the stop-playing-with-the-research-project! dept.

Input Devices 27

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers Jon Moeller, Andruid Kerne, and a team from the Interface Ecology Lab at Texas A&M University showcased the latest ZeroTouch multi-finger sensing technology at ACM CHI, in Austin. ZeroTouch is a new spin on infrared sensing technology, which optimizes the sensor readout cycle for a linear array of modulated infrared light receivers. ZeroTouch also constitutes a precise free-air sensing technology (Kinect can be used as a complementary technology to sense depth). Researcher Bill Hamilton uses ZeroTouch integrated with Wacom Cintiq to showcase new embodied eSports interaction (video) for the open source Zero-K real time strategy game."

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27 comments

great, about a billion game addons coming out for (3, Funny)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | about 2 years ago | (#40006879)

AIR GUITAR HERO!!!

Curious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40006973)

ZeroTouch is a new spin on infrared sensing technology

The last time I tried using an IR touch screen, it flipped the fuck out if you even used two fingers.
I wonder how well this actually works.

Kinect complimentary? (2)

wiedzmin (1269816) | about 2 years ago | (#40007039)

How exactly is this doing something that Kinect is incapable of... actually how is it even related to Kinect? All this is, is an alternative touch screen implementation, it's screen-size specific - I have personally used a 47" add-on to an LCD TV that turned it into a touch-screen before, using a glass touch-screen overlay. Are you telling me that adding this contraption to your television (no matter how awkward looking it is), is going to be cheaper than buying a touch-screen this size? What would be a use case for wanting to sit 2' away from your TV, poking it with your hand, as opposed to sitting on the couch and just waving it? This seems about as revolutionary as training wheels for a tricycle, IMHO.

Re:Kinect complimentary? (3, Funny)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40007119)

What would be a use case for wanting to sit 2' away from your TV, poking it with your hand

Personal research shows the popularity of this activity seems to peak around age 3.
I'm guessing this is going to do well as part of the next "Dora the Explorer" wii game.
Probably not the right demographic for Saints Row 2013.

Re:Kinect complimentary? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40007169)

Probably not the right demographic for Saints Row 2013

Dude, have you seen the big purple dildo sword? It's the perfect demographic!

Re:Kinect complimentary? (2)

internerdj (1319281) | about 2 years ago | (#40007491)

This behavior has increased exponentially after letting our preschool age kids play with my wife's tablet.

Re:Kinect complimentary? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40007217)

Much like the Kinect, it uses patterned IR to detect motion. Unlike the Kinect, it doesn't detect depth, but is good for detecting motion in a 2d plane closer to the screen than the Kinect's minimum sensing distance.

This isn't a film overlay, so cost scales linearly with the length and width of the screen instead of by the area of the screen.

You would know this if you were literate.

Re:Kinect complimentary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40011137)

You would know this if you were literate.

there is a difference between being literate and not being bothered to RTFA

Re:Kinect complimentary? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40007529)

What would be a use case for wanting to sit 2' away from your TV, poking it with your hand, as opposed to sitting on the couch and just waving it?

it can be used like a surface, not necessarily a TV. If you look at the video link in the article, there's a use case for RTS games, and the kind of applications (like painting, card games, playing piano, photo manipulation, etc) that already exist for microsoft surface.

actually how is it even related to Kinect?

To quote from the article, "...In another demonstration the system used a Microsoft Kinect camera to differentiate the hands and fingers of various users."

More importantly, this 'contraption' you speak of is a lot cheaper than competing alternatives, e.g. Microsoft Surface, and Perceptive Pixel's big touch screen. When you lower the cost to something your average buyer can afford, you can well be sure that it'll open up a lot of tinkering opportunities for hobbyists.

Re:Kinect complimentary? (3, Insightful)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#40007761)

Did anyone watch the youtube video or read the article?

It does multi-touch quite well. Its advantage is that it's very inexpensive when compared to capacitive touch, which has a cost that scales as a square of the display size, where this one scales linearly. So a 55" multi-touch display, with the actual display device, that works well, will cost you $2,200 instead of the $10k or whatever that they charge for an MS Surface.

Also, nobody is using one with the TV vertically. All configurations are in table configuration, just like every other large multi-touch you've ever seen... so you're not really meant to sit 2' from your living room tv.

The only use of Kinect was to augment the touch sensing.

Re:Kinect complimentary? (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#40008561)

Are you telling me that adding this contraption to your television (no matter how awkward looking it is), is going to be cheaper than buying a touch-screen this size?

In a word: yes. That's the whole point.

From what I gathered in the article (I know, I know, I should know better than to read the article), a key part of this technology is that it's significantly more cost effective than capacitive technology as the size of the screen increases (cost scales as a linear function as opposed to as a quadratic function). But really, it doesn't sound like it's being designed with TVs in mind. It sounds like it's being designed as an alternative (and better, for some cases) method to implement technologies like Microsoft Surface or large-scale touchscreens at a significant cost savings over how they are currently implemented.

As for the Kinect, Kinect obviously can't be used with the user actually touching the screen, which is what this technology can do, but it can be used at a distance, which is something with which this technology seems to have some issues. But I too don't quite understand why you would want to use this technology + Kinect, as the article mentions, as opposed to just Kinect by itself if you're at a distance.

Re:Kinect complimentary? (2)

andruid (1523597) | about 2 years ago | (#40010549)

Kinect's specialty is its depth camera. ZeroTouch's specialty is extremely precise and fast sensing in a plane. Kinect cannot presently match ZeroTouch for precision and speed for free-air interaction. ZeroTouch presently can sense precisely only in a single plane. Hence, we are working to combine the two sensing modalities to create the highest fidelity free-air interaction.

Fail (2)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about 2 years ago | (#40007301)

Sorry, the last time I had to physically stand up and interact with a TV to change the channel was back in the 70's. I like to think we have advanced past that unnecessary tedium. The concept of touch screen TV's works great in the school or boardroom, but is an epic fail in the living room.

Re:Fail (2)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#40007655)

I would disagree. Touch would be a fine ADDITION to the television if it were extremely cheap to add. Virtually all televisions still have buttons to control them built onto the TV itself. TVs are getting thinner and thinner with ever smaller bezels. We are rapidly approaching the point that there will be no place to mount physical buttons. Not everyone has the use case of sitting still on the couch, giving their full attention to the television when they watch TV. Many people are up and about doing other activities. This means that sometimes, they are closer to the TV than they are the remote control. When many people play games on their TVs, they are often right up at the TV gathering controllers, putting in disks, etc. where being able to change inputs would be more convenient with a touch screen. There is also the possibility of making configuration easier with a touch screen.

I'm not saying that touch makes sense as a replacement. I am also not suggesting that it adds enough value to warrant a large price increase. But, if I was buying an ultra flat TV and all other features being equal, at the same price, I would definitely choose a TV with a decent touch interface included over one that did not have the touch interface included.

Re:Fail (2)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | about 2 years ago | (#40007767)

Besides the laziness, I think a thick mixture of Cheeto dust, kiddy prints, sticky drinks, and buffalo wing sauce will render touch-screen TV unwatchable. I think this will fall under the "Fridges that have TVs in them" category of appliances. Great idea, looked awesome at the tech expo... why is no one buying them?

TV's are a really bad example (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#40007631)

Using this with TV's is a pretty piss poor choice of use case that doesn't fairly demonstrate the poteential for this technology.

Where I think it would be better served is in large displays (or any large rectangular area, actually) that could be served by multi-touch sensitivity and would ordinarily benefit from direct physical interaction, but where developing an accurate multi-touch sensitive film to cover the entire area would be cost prohibitive.

Zero Touch? A Technological First! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40009225)

Zero Touch: The first technology without a porn application?

That would truly be groundbreaking.

non-corporeal evolution? (1)

eggfoolr (999317) | about 2 years ago | (#40012073)

Why is there so much effort in making things effortless? No mechanical buttons, no leavers, no wheels.... Are humans trying to evolve into non-corporeal beings?

We need tactile feedback, and physical effort to operate, be efficient and accurate and help our brains learn new tasks.

We have evolved in a physical world. I'm certain there will be more and more consequences on health with these technologies including obesity, RSI, tendon and muscle damage, nervous system complaints, depression and other mental illnesses.

Re:non-corporeal evolution? (1)

Metahominid (1368691) | about 2 years ago | (#40012665)

Why is there so much effort in making things effortless? No mechanical buttons, no leavers, no wheels.... Are humans trying to evolve into non-corporeal beings?

Refer to Platonism then skip to Descartes "Cogito Ergo Sum" and finish it off with the wide spread application and industrialization of digital technologies

We need tactile feedback, and physical effort to operate, be efficient and accurate and help our brains learn new tasks.

Completely agree, there are many other HCI technologies in the works, mainly in haptics. The visual component however cannot be ignored as a queuing signal.

We have evolved in a physical world. I'm certain there will be more and more consequences on health with these technologies including obesity, RSI, tendon and muscle damage, nervous system complaints, depression and other mental illnesses.

This is true, although it isn't as if there isn't oversight into the development and proliferation of the technology. There is continued development in non invasive brain computer interfaces like NeuroSky,Emotiv and BrainPut. Other personal growth technologies like Fitbit,Fuelband and Jawbone are examples in the rapidly growing life tracking/"Quantitative Self" movement; technologies to make users more aware and motivate them to healthier life styles. I don't believe I formatted that nicely. Nonetheless...

Splain it to me, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40016187)

I don't get it. If its just an array of IR leds. How can they have so many people touching it. Wouldn't one hand/finger be able to block the others that were "behind" it?? Say you had three people with one hand on it. One on the left, on on the right, and the third hand in the middle. The middle hand would get no signal from either the left or right, because it was blocked. Sure it could still do top and bottom, but thats not very useful.

Can someone explain? The linked article says its been outfitted to respond to 60 fingers. That seems questionable to me.

Re:Splain it to me, please (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#40016975)

This [ecologylab.net] paper actually explains it fairly well. Just looking at figure 3 in the paper alone should clarify how an array of IR sensors and LED's can detect multiple contact points (although the picture only shows 3 contacts, it should be plain that it can handle dozens). The occlusion problem you describe is still theoretically possible, but only when you have both relatively large and small contact points occurring together at the same time, and too close together. For something like the tips of fingers, you'd have no problem...

Re:Splain it to me, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40017197)

Yup, that does it. That explains how it works. Thats pretty cool. Thanks for sharing the paper

Interactive TV Platform as Important as Mobile (1)

andruid (1523597) | about 2 years ago | (#40018423)

The New York Times reports today [http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/in-tv-race-microsoft-has-lead-forrester-says] that television is emerging as a crucial strategic platform, "every bit as intense as... mobile." Apple, Google, and Microsoft (and others? Amazon? Facebook?) will vie for dominance. I argue that making all involved surfaces -- the large TV, the smaller phone and tablet -- interactive, with multi-touch, will become essential ground for television as platform. As the platforms fully open for development, with App stores, things will get interesting. ZeroTouch is the highest performance, most cost effective way to make the TV surface interactive. When production of the technology is scaled, costs should run in the hundreds of dollars for very large screens. The ACM CHI Austin ZeroTouch demo showed how responsive ZeroTouch sensing is, at television scale.
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