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Magic Finger Turns Any Surface Into a Touch Interface

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the play-quake-on-your-hamburger dept.

Input Devices 47

cylonlover writes "A trip on public transport or to the local coffee shop might give the impression that touchscreens are everywhere, but scientists at Autodesk Research of the University of Alberta and the University of Toronto are looking to take the ubiquity of touch interfaces to the next level. They are developing a 'Magic Finger' that allows any surface to detect touch input by shifting the touch technology from the surface to the wearer's finger. It's a proof-of-concept prototype made up of a little Velcro ring that straps to the wearer's fingertip with a trail of wires leading to a box of electronics. On the ring there are a pair of optical sensors. One is a low resolution, high-speed sensor for tracking movement, the other a high-resolution camera, which is able to detect 32 different surface textures with 98 percent accuracy."

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47 comments

There are so many naughty implications... (4, Funny)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#41677235)

...to "Magic Finger"...

Doesn't help that we were discussing the naughty ads that British beer brewer "Bishop's Finger" uses...

"I derive untold pleasure from a Bishop's^H^H^H^H^H^H^HMagic Finger."

Re:There are so many naughty implications... (3, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#41677393)

Pull my MAGIC finger!

Re:There are so many naughty implications... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41677497)

Will it vibrate?

Re:There are so many naughty implications... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41679129)

pull the bishop's finger and feel the draught.

Re:There are so many naughty implications... (1)

aicrules (819392) | about 2 years ago | (#41680083)

Check out the PDF article's first billed person for a secondary laugh along these lines...

Obligatory (-1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41677241)

They already have a magic fingers interface: You can find it at most seedier inner-city hotels. Go ahead, mod this +5, Funny, and post any other humorous quips under this thread as well, cuz the tech is cool, even if it is pun-worthy.

Re:Obligatory (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41677303)

They already have a magic fingers interface: You can find it at most seedier inner-city hotels. Go ahead, mod this +5, Funny, and post any other humorous quips under this thread as well, cuz the tech is cool, even if it is pun-worthy.

your fingers are magic since you made a funny headline unfunny with your pedantry. good work by you!

Re:Obligatory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41677443)

You have no sense of humor. How typical of a fucking slut like you.

I have a Microsoft magic interface (2)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 2 years ago | (#41678747)

it turns any surface into a cursor control interface without needing a touchscreen... Microsoft Mouse

Re:I have a Microsoft magic interface (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 2 years ago | (#41679119)

This is what it is anyway - it's the optical sensor from a mouse, strapped to a finger. Big deal.

tres! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41677289)

Joe Biden: Does my magic finger smell funny?

Barack Obama: ugh, that smells like shit!

Joe Biden: [laughs] That's because I stuck it up my magic asshole!

Re:tres! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41677607)

Joe Biden: [jumps in his Camaro, cranks the Night Ranger, and burns rubber onto Pennsylvania Ave]

Where's the moronic canadian flag (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41677291)

I mean, the story mentioned a couple of universities from there, obviously it's a story about canada, right?

Fuckers.

this is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41677297)

Ann Wilson wrote a song about this like 30 years ago.

prior art? (4, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#41677451)

I seem to remember manufacturers of optical mice making such bold claims as being able to track on glass. This is just an optical mouse without the plastic case.

Re:prior art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41677655)

Indeed, the "optical flow sensor" is taken from a mouse. The high-res camera is the other sensor. Nothing in the project claims to innovate on what surfaces the sensors work on - this is all about applying the sensors, not changing them.

Re:prior art? (1)

aicrules (819392) | about 2 years ago | (#41680049)

Except for the part where it says "enabling any surface to act as a touch screen". That's from the PDF ...which I was terribly annoyed that I had to open to read the actual details, but that is beside the point. They say "any surface" and while they don't specifically say "we've conquered the issue of transparent and otherwise not-visually distinct surfaces" ANY does imply that it would work and it's fair to assume that they don't mean it works on any surface, but some surfaces suck.

Re:prior art? (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 2 years ago | (#41678429)

What I got from the article is this has very little to do with hardware, and a lot to do with the software behind it.

It's using optical recognition not to track a pointer over any given surface, but to actually detect what the surface is and automatically send control signals to other things based simply on the surface touched.

The input is actually almost irrelevant.

Total Recall remake phone (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about 2 years ago | (#41677471)

The Total Recall remake from a couple of months back included something very similar to this -- A phone embedded into your palm; to use it as a video conferencing thing you just put your hand on a sheet of glass (window, windshield, sign, whatever) and the display showed up on that surface.

Re:Total Recall remake phone (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#41677991)

That's not similar at all... This is about input, not output...

Re:Total Recall remake phone (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about 2 years ago | (#41682917)

You do know what a telephone is? Two way conversation and interaction. Both input and output.

Wait, so... (1)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41677623)

We've taken the optical electronics out of an optical mouse and stuck it on a velcro strap?

And you *still* need wires?

This is what passes for innovation?

I think... no.

--
BMO

Re:Wait, so... (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | about 2 years ago | (#41677783)

Proof-of-concept phase maybe? Presumably that would be changed for the first consumer version.

Re:Wait, so... (1)

formfeed (703859) | about 2 years ago | (#41677885)

They could run the data over your skin [slashdot.org] , but MS has a patent on that.

Re:Wait, so... (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 2 years ago | (#41678437)

Nope, the story is about the control software and what is done with the data once it's collected. They just focus on the hardware to get peoples' attention.

ive got a magic finger (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41677719)

the middle one

42 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41677749)

now all i need is a magic thumb so i can get off this rock

What about Leap and similar tech? (4, Interesting)

richardtallent (309050) | about 2 years ago | (#41677917)

This makes as little sense in the modern age as those "virtual reality" helmets we're all supposed to be using by now.

Companies like Leap are making much more advanced technology that requires nothing attached to your hand and uses motion sensors to track your hand movements with incredible precision. Comparatively, this guy's mouse-finger contraption looks as silly as Doc's brain-wave reader in BttF.

(I don't represent Leap, I just remember hearing about their tech awhile back.)

Re:What about Leap and similar tech? (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#41678003)

ET Phone Home!

Doudoune Moncler France (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41678027)

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Horrible future (5, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | about 2 years ago | (#41678063)

An annoying smartphone ringing can be muted by touching the bag that it’s in. The wearer can start an app or send a saved text message by touching a logo on their shirt.

I'd be afraid to scratch myself or use a urinal without safe search on.

Re:Horrible future (1)

ikarys (865465) | about 2 years ago | (#41678219)

Hopefully this device would warn you when sticking a finger in the urinal.

I'm a scared to think how you've been using urinals.

Re:Horrible future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41678597)

Do you usually bring your wireless mouse to the bathroom or attempt to scratch your face with it?

app suite? (0)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#41678185)

Any relation to magic underwear?

a really poor version of this... (2)

kenorland (2691677) | about 2 years ago | (#41678357)

Normal people don't strap these sensors to their fingers (where there is no room for batteries), they put them in a pen. Normal people also don't use bar codes that weren't designed for the purpose, they use patterns that work much better for determining position. So, normal people just buy a Logitech IO2 or the Livescribe pen.

http://www.livescribe.com/en-us/smartpen/echo/ [livescribe.com]

huhuhuh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41678471)

huhuhuh.. 'magic finger' huhuhuh 'touch interface' huhuhuh...

not so new (3, Interesting)

pbjones (315127) | about 2 years ago | (#41678543)

bought a finger mouse on ebay few years ago, although it was not as sophisticated this this one, it was very similar.

Interfaces are shite! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41678757)

seriously, what do I need an interface for everywhere? That's not intuitive or anything :P

I believe I saw this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41678859)

... in Children of Men

Finger mouse? (1)

boef (452862) | about 2 years ago | (#41679007)

From the description it sounds pretty much like the handheld device I use that turns 'any surface into a touch screen'. Now it could just be my general germ phobia, but I go out of my way to avoid touching most surfaces in public.. so I am not convinced on that side either. That said, if it will make me more productive by replacing the mouse mentioned above and without interfering with typing, I will give it a try. Am I hopeful? Nope.

trip in the local coffee shop (1)

muttoj (572791) | about 2 years ago | (#41679059)

"A trip on public transport or to the local coffee shop might give the impression that touchscreens are everywhere"

Here in The Netherlands many people had a good trip in the local coffee shop and had such impressions decades ago.

I read magic dildo (vibrator). (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41679163)

I read magic dildo (vibrator).

Better Scenarios? (1)

chrismcb (983081) | about 2 years ago | (#41679463)

Couldn't they have come up with better scenarios? Ohhh look I can move the map by moving my finger UNDER the tablet! Ohhh look a different QR code. There is way to much "music pads" and not enough interaction with real devices (which is what I thought this was about)

Product Namers need Google training (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 2 years ago | (#41679573)

I gotcha Magic Finger [aliimg.com] right here [inandoutgifts.com] .

And Here [yimg.com] .

And here [flickr.com] .

And (finally) here [riprenfield.com] .

Seen the vid? (1)

DoctorBonzo (2646833) | about 2 years ago | (#41679853)

That video from the 1st link is totally fucken hilarious!

one question: why? (1)

mythix (2589549) | about 2 years ago | (#41681645)

cool? maybe..

practical? I don't think so...
as the video shows (in the first link), (a user must probably first configure all possible gestures,) and then remeber every possible gesture, because this device has _zero_ intuitivity...

I mean, you tap your bag to mute your tablet, but what if your laptop and mobile are also in the bag...
in the meeting the projector is mapped to the table, hmm yes, who would think otherwise!

The only application I see in this may be s smaller mice, or the control on the back of the tables, as also shown in the video...

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