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Flexible Computers in the Future?

CowboyNeal posted more than 11 years ago | from the bend-like-the-reed dept.

Handhelds 229

An anonymous reader writes "New Scientist is reporting on Sony bendable input devices. When computers become too small to be operated by buttons, how will we control them? The only option will be to gently bend them, according to engineers at Sony's Interaction Lab in Tokyo." The diagrams make it look like a warped Game Boy. Looks pretty cool, though.

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Any ideas how this would work in real life? (4, Insightful)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251320)

They've got this really bizarre idea over there, but they don't seem to have a realistic idea of how it would work in real life devices.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Re:Any ideas how this would work in real life? (-1, Troll)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251341)

dildo ?

Re:Any ideas how this would work in real life? (5, Informative)

helix400 (558178) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251348)

RTA. It comes with a neat picture [newscientist.com] that explains it pretty well. The credit card one on the right seems to be the most practical reason to use bending. While viewing a map, you bend it to scroll left or right, or zoom in or out. Makes sense to me.

Re:Any ideas how this would work in real life? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251369)

I'm not asking about toy applications like a map. I want to know what you think this could be used for. You, Helix400, what do you think it would be useful for?

Re:Any ideas how this would work in real life? (2, Funny)

helix400 (558178) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251389)

A map.

Re:Any ideas how this would work in real life? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251393)

Have a seat, son.

Re:Any ideas how this would work in real life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251429)

Thanks dude, you gave me a good belly laugh.

Re:Any ideas how this would work in real life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251396)

Ooh, he said your name Helix400! It just got that much more personal. Now you will HAVE to respond!

Re:Any ideas how this would work in real life? (2, Interesting)

seasleepy (651293) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251485)

Cool and useful as I think this'd be, I can just see tourists going insane trying to get one to work. (Or even just finding where they are in the first place.) Lost people with no sense of direction + map = Lost people. Lost people with no sense of direction + map the size of a credit card = Lost people with a crumpled piece of "polymer electronics."

Video Link (karmaless) (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251537)

video link here [sony.co.jp]

visit earth2willi.com! [earth2willi.com]

mod parent up! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251587)

yea

it works with one of these! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251415)

-PENIS--PENIS--PENIS--PENIS-
P________________8',-',";,.P
E_______________#'',-',";,.E
N______________8(',-',";,..N
I_____________#(',-',";,.,.I
S__________#8#8_',-',";,.,.S
-_________#',-.8',-',";,.,.-
P________8~',-..#',-',";,..P
E_______#'',-',";8_',-',";.E
N_____8=',-',";.+#+',-',";.N
I____#=',-',";,._8',-',";,.I
S___#=',-',";,..(#',-',";.8S
-__8(',-',YOUR,.(8',-',";s#-
P_8(',-',MOTHER";#',-',-s8_P
E_#z',-',LOVES,";8',-..s#__E
N_8_.,#',"YOU',";~#,..88___N
I_#.##',-DEARLY,";~8,8#____I
S_8##',-+~'',-',-~#'8______S
-_#.,..-',-',";.'=8#_______-
P_.8+_',-',";,.'88_________P
E___888',-',";~8___________E
N______8#888#88____________N
I__________________________I
S____.oO TrollKore Oo._____S
-_At the head of the game._-
P__________________________P
E___irc.freedomirc.net_____E
N_______#trollkore_________N
I__________________________I
S__________________________S
-PENIS--PENIS--PENIS--PENIS-

sdlkfjsdalkfjsadhfjksdahfkjlhsadkfjhiuwqoyerkjhew qrudsayhfkjsahdifuyqwekjrhlkjsdafiuasdfhksadjhfiu4 wqorhjdsfkljhsdafiuoyasdfkjhwieuqryoiusadfjkhsdalk jfhiuqoweyrwqkejhrlkwueqyiurysadhfjkhwqiueryweurya iosudfhlkjqwehriuoyasfkjhwqeriuoysadfjkhsadlkjhfsa lkjdhfkjsadhfiuweyrqkjhfdsiauyrewqkjlhrfseaiuoyras djkfhiweuyrskajldhflkjsadhf smely pooz

Re:Any ideas how this would work in real life? (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251447)

Yeah, that's what they said about miniaturization before the Walkman came out.

Remind me how that one turned out again, will you?

Re:Any ideas how this would work in real life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251459)

That's the point. A map and a game are fine prototypes, but where will the real application of this technology be?

Re:Any ideas how this would work in real life? (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251503)

No, the point being it won't take them very long to find a practical application, so what's the point of bitching about how it's not useful?

You are lazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251520)

Laziness is a virtue saith Larry Wall, but I'm here to tell you that it is a sin.

Rather than describing what you'd like to see done with this kind of technology you instead let other people do the thinking for you. Can you possibly be any more uninterested in things?

Then you go on to claim that there was bitching about "how it's not useful" when in fact there was no bitching at all. The question was, what do YOU think this technology could be used for once it leaves the lab?

Don't worry, no one will ask for your opinion again. It's clear you don't have any.

Re:You are lazy (0)

BJH (11355) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251580)

That's right. I have no opinion about bendable devices. So?

Even if I did, I suspect that Sony's engineers aren't trawling /. for brilliant new ideas.

Re:Any ideas how this would work in real life? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251479)

I've always been a big fan of those pens that come with an image of a pinup girl whose bathing suit disappears when you twist the pen. So, instead of twisting, you bend, right?

Ok, so maybe not.

Re:Any ideas how this would work in real life? (1, Funny)

jrl87 (669651) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251487)

An Etch-a-Sketch that doesn't have knobs

Maybe (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251321)

Niles First Post! Wee!

possibilities.... (3, Insightful)

ksp0704 (242246) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251325)

what happens if you leave it in your pocket and sit on it and bend it? then where will you end up?

FP!

Re:possibilities.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251387)

Probably in the wrong city. (the picture in the article refers to a GPS navigator).

Re: possibilities.... (2, Interesting)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251500)

Mhh ? I don't really see in which way the problem would be specific to bending devices. In my pocket, a device is as likely to bend as to be compressed (clicking on its eventual buttons).
So it is just a matter of having a locking function or not...

G5's announced by Apple blunder? (-1, Offtopic)

djupedal (584558) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251326)

The C&Ds are already rolling in, seeing as MacRumors had to pull the picture at the request of Apple legal:

"The upcoming PowerMac Specs were leaked this evening -- by Apple! Here they are:

- Removed per the request of Apple. -

These specifications were posted tonight on the Apple Store (http://store.apple.com) in what appears to be (huge) mistake. The specs were listed on the PowerMac order page on a single graphic."

1.6GHz, 1.8GHz, or Dual 2GHz PowerPC G5 Processors
Up to 1 GHz processor bus
Up to 8GB of DDR SDRAM
Fast Serial ATA hard drives
AGP 8x Pro
Three PCI or PCI-X expansion slots
Three USB 2.0 Ports
One FW800, two FW400 ports
Bluetooth & Airport Extreme ready
Optical and analog audio in and out

Re:G5's announced by Apple blunder? (0, Offtopic)

kleine18 (675867) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251352)

http://users.adelphia.net/~wifi/apple/0.0.7.1.0.5. 21.1.2.1.2.0.0.1.0.html

corrected URL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251376)

now try it... [adelphia.net]

Re:corrected URL (0)

kleine18 (675867) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251384)

want anything wrong with the link

Re:corrected URL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251416)

Sure...there is a space in it... It's broken for everyone but you.

Look close....between the .5. & the 21.1.

http://users.adelphia.net/~wifi/apple/0.0.7.1.0.5. - 21.1.2.1.2.0.0.1.0.html

You don't do much HTML, do you :)

Re:corrected URL (0)

kleine18 (675867) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251428)

it was a slashdot error.

Re:corrected URL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251449)

riiiiiggghhhhttt :)

slashdot error...I'll remember that.... Slashdot ate my homework!

Thanks for putting it up, none the less. I need that image for....well....I just do, ok?

Re:corrected URL (0)

kleine18 (675867) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251451)

btw... a web address isnt html

Re:corrected URL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251463)

Man...no wonder you messed up... Go to your room, now, and don't come out until, say....oh...2005...July!

Re:corrected URL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251478)

It is, indeed, a /. error - a very well known one, actually. /. splits any string over a certain length with a space to prevent extra-long lines forcing horizontal scrolling.
Unfortunately, this corrupts any URL over that length.

Now shut up, cumbucket.

Re:corrected URL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251582)

Well, that certainly explains why it didn't happen to me, when I posted the identical URL, now doesn't it.

Nice try, brown-nose, but you're one potato shy of being able to patty cake with the other moron in this thread :)

Break easy (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251327)

Bet these will break easy.

Re:Break easy (1)

ocelotbob (173602) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251490)

But these are made cheap enough that breakage is not a major issue. They seem to be a great replacement for paper goods, like maps road maps and travel guides, things that you're not going to be using for more than a few weeks at most in all likelihood.

or we can just talk to our computers (3, Insightful)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251329)

or if cell phones can guess what I'm saying as I thumb-type words, why do I need to bend the phone?

Re:or we can just talk to our computers (1)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251360)

besides, bending would take two hands right? yeah I'm too lazy to read the article. I figure by the time a computer with any decent complexity is smaller than a 5 or 10-pack of gum, almost all the space will be for the battery, and input will be external, from my voice or from a laptop/kiosk/laser-drawn-keyboard. Possibly all done wirelessly.

Re:or we can just talk to our computers (1)

Bush Pig (175019) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251614)

Nah - you could do it with one hand if it was really small. Think about holding a credit card with your thumb and forefinger at opposite corners, and your middle finger behind it.

I want one of these when they get cheap.

Rejected Advertising Slogan (5, Funny)

Cappy Red (576737) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251331)

"Get Bent"

However, if this is ever marketed with that slogan I'll be shocked and disgusted... and then try to weasel some money out of the deal.

*honk*

Off Top, but important (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251452)

Since the slashdot editors are probabally sleeping and won't see the million submissions concerning this till morning...The The G5 specs were leaked by apple. All of these links have the same info, they are on small sites, pick one at random to avoid slashdotting them. Link 1 [infopop.net] , Link 2 [macnn.com] , Link 3 [garyschechter.com] , Link 4 [ttp] , . I'm posting anonymously to avoid karma up or down...

It might be best if people save their comments for the coming discussion in the morning, to avoid redundancy.

Re:Rejected Advertising Slogan (1)

Lord Barrabas (70262) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251462)

I think the Rasta's might have 'prior art'

Before just accepting what NS is saying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251350)

Please realize that these are the same people who are denying the Bible [newscientist.com] by saying that James was not the brother of Jesus and that there is little evidence that Jesus even existed.

Re:Before just accepting what NS is saying (-1, Troll)

akpcep (659230) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251411)

And your point is?

Re:Before just accepting what NS is saying (-1, Offtopic)

RPI Geek (640282) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251414)

Alright, I don't care how I get modded for this. People like you just really piss me off.

Please realize that these are the same people who are denying the Bible by saying that James was not the brother of Jesus and that there is little evidence that Jesus even existed.

1) There are actually people who don't believe that Jesus was the messiah. Don't get in a huff about this, I'm just saying that there's a lot of other religions out there that you seem to be forgetting.

2) Nowhere in the article that you linked to [newscientist.com] does it say, as you put it "that James was not the brother of Jesus". Nor does the article say "that there is little evidence that Jesus even existed".

The simple fact that a piece of evidence was proven to be a fake does not prove the conclusions to be false.

Go take a course on simple logic

Re:Before just accepting what NS is saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251480)

I am trying to understand what you are saying, but it simply doesn't make sense (despite your little jab about logic and whatnot).

James was Jesus's brother. This has been documented both in the Bible (which you apparently don't put any stock in) and external sources such as historians from that time. For someone genetically connected to Jesus (the genes on the mother's side), he would have to have been revered and in fact be quite aware of Jesus's teachings as he and his parents were the closest to him during childhood. So when he died (as explained in the epistle of James), he was placed into an ossuary inscribed with his name and his relation to Jesus. This is UNDISPUTED HISTORY. The ossuary had been guarded and handed down from generation to generation and now after 2000 years someone has the audacity to claim that the box is fake?

I don't doubt that someone is saying this, but I have to wonder what kind of satanic influence is inhabiting the person who would say such a thing.

And in the final analysis, this wasn't the point of my original post at all. Rather, it was that New Scientist is a suspect rag that posts off the wall articles like the tomb of James article. It is fit for maybe the Weekly World News, but most definitely not anything remotely related to Science.

Re:Before just accepting what NS is saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251501)

You assume that the box alluded to in the story is, beyond question, really James' box. Unless the bible can unambiguously designate that one physical object and not any other (e.g., no fakes etc.) - then someone claiming a given box is not James' box has no bearing on whether or not they think that there is or was a James' box (even less a James, a Jesus or a God).

This, also, is not logical.

Re:Before just accepting what NS is saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251511)

Some sort of demon has closed your mind and heart to the true Word of God. I will pray for you (even though intercessionary prayer is not endorsed by the Bible) that you will come to accept Jesus into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior and that the Holy Spirit fill you and bind you and that you come to understand the full nature of the love of the Father.

Then I can call you my brother in Christ.

I'm off to pray now.

Re:Before just accepting what NS is saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251545)

Some sort of demon has given you brain damage.

Too bad you couldn't have worked in a mention of how great MacOS was, too.

Re:Before just accepting what NS is saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251555)

Despite his ability to create beautiful things from the dirt, Steve isn't quite God. God is so much more powerful and beautiful and wonderful in His infinite capacity to love than anything we could comprehend. To Him I give my life.

Lord, I am your jar of clay. Fill me with Your Spirit that I may quench the fires of Hell which burn all around this Creation that You made with Your slightest Word.

Re:Before just accepting what NS is saying (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251559)

Wait a second! I have suddenly realized that Jesus is my Lord! What a marvelous feeling!

THANK YOU SO MUCH, CHRISTIANITY TROLL!!!

God was my co-pilot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251599)

but then we crashed into the mountains and I had to eat him =)
-Some guy that writes bumper stickers

Re:Before just accepting what NS is saying (1)

RPI Geek (640282) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251516)

am trying to understand what you are saying, but it simply doesn't make sense (despite your little jab about logic and whatnot).
What doesn't make sense about it? I'll try to clarify it for you.
Feel free to contact me at RowsNSkis@yahoo.com if you really want to talk about it. The slashdot forums are not the place for this discussion.

Re:Before just accepting what NS is saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251547)

Get thee behind me Satan!

A public forum is exactly the place to have these discussions (though -1 is not). Are you afraid of the power of Christ will compel you to renounce your sins and turn your back on your old life and embrace the New Life?

Are you afraid of this happening in the open? Perhaps God has not called to your heart yet. But bless and thank God, today I am for him his messenger to you. Jesus died for you, to pay with his blood for your sins.

James glorified his Brother's name during his life, and in his death the forces of darkness are attempting to turn him into a liar. Don't side with the Darkness, my brother. Share the Light and Glory of Jesus with me.

Re:Before just accepting what NS is saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251554)

Most people don't think it is all right to masturbate in public.

Let alone in other people's faces.

Re:Before just accepting what NS is saying (1)

headpushslap (583517) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251521)

1) There are actually people who don't believe that Jesus was the messiah

Yeah, they are called 'Muslims'. There might be a few around. Maybe they are on to something?

Allah U Ackbar

Re:Before just accepting what NS is saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251551)

What about the other 50% of the world (you know, the ones who generally don't think religious wars are okay)?

Re:Before just accepting what NS is saying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251600)

The article you point to is a news wire report about a fake marble ossuary. Not only do they fail to make any statement about whether James was or was not the brother of Jesus, even if they did, it would be news reporting, not their opinion.

However, it is indeed quite clear that there is almost no historical evidence for the existence of Jesus. Whether Jesus existed is a matter of faith, and you will just have to get used to the fact that billions of humans on this planet either don't believe he did or just don't care.

RTFA? Nope (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251368)

Don't bother reading the article, just look at this diagram [newscientist.com] . Enjoy!

What's the lifespan? (5, Insightful)

IICV (652597) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251372)

If you take a normal piece of paper and bend it back and forth a few times, you'll find that it starts "remembering" where you bent it.

Yes, I know they're small piezoelectric particles to generate voltage when compressed, but those can't last forever. The material of the card might start developing a memory if you bend it too much.

However, this will be kickass if they can make them cheap enough. Imagine: walk up to a vending machine in an airport, buy a little credit-card sized game to occupy you during the flight, and throw it away when the battery runs out. Or have a book on the card - a novel and text output probably won't take up that much memory.

Re:What's the lifespan? (1, Funny)

IICV (652597) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251383)

I would like to apologize for the above badly written piece of excrement. I really shouldn't post when I'm too tired to think straight. But hey, this is Slashdot. It's not like anyone's going to read either of these comments.

Re:What's the lifespan? (1)

akpcep (659230) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251400)

Don't be so hard on yourself, I thought your comments were just great.

Re:What's the lifespan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251406)

You're right, no one will read them. And someone accidentally moderated up your parent post without reading it as well. Yes.

Not to sound like an environmental maniac, but... (4, Insightful)

achurch (201270) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251433)

Imagine: walk up to a vending machine in an airport, buy a little credit-card sized game to occupy you during the flight, and throw it away when the battery runs out.

And designing things to be thrown away is good practice?

Re:What's the lifespan? (5, Informative)

RPI Geek (640282) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251481)

Yes, I know they're small piezoelectric particles to generate voltage when compressed, but those can't last forever.

You're halfway right.
When a material is deformed by stretching, compressing, twisting, or bending (which is really a combination of stretching and compressing), there is a region called the elastic region where the material will return to its original size and shape when the force deforming it is released. Beyond the elastic region is the plastic region, where the material will remain deformed. If the material is deformed in such a way that the deformation never reaches the plastic region, the material(with a few exceptions) can be cycled (deformed and returned) infinitely without failing. The amount beyond the elastic region that the material is deformed determines how long the material will last. Think about bending a paper clip or a pencil in your hands.
There's a whole field of study devoted to understanding this process better, and to make the existing equations fit the real world better.
Any inaccuracies or typos are because I'm tired and it's late, feel free to correct me if you know what you're talking about.b

Quite long, I suspect (3, Informative)

Chad E Dirks (681955) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251518)

This potential problem is what came to my mind immediately as well. However, I do not think it will be as large of a problem as it may at first seem.

It seems, for example, that even bending the device once will result in *some* retention of that bent shape. This establishes what is minimally the initial lower threshold for registering an intentional 'bend'.

However, consider even the common household rubber band. Even if stretched to two or three times its originally length repeatedly, while there will be some net increase in its length at rest, that increase will be only a small fraction of the length it may be repeatedly extended to.

If the flexible portion of this device which is intended to register user input is composed of a similar, though certainly more durable substance, there should be relatively little concern of the device becoming non-functional due to any permanent retention of the extended shape, any time within its useful life.

It would, I suppose, just be a matter of identifying for that particular substance what threshold value for the registering of user input results in the best balance between registering only intentional bends and the corresponding net percentage retention of the extended or bent shape.

Browser commands? (5, Funny)

ruprechtjones (545762) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251379)

Quarter-bend to the left is "back", quarter-bend to the right is "forward". To close the browser window, just fold and put in your pocket. Rip the display in half to "view source".

Re:Browser commands? (1, Funny)

Soko (17987) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251513)

.and to e-mail, throw it out the window. Sendmail'll pick it up somehow.

Soko

You could fit ... (0)

BillsPetMonkey (654200) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251380)

at least eight buttons on that device - four either side.

Are they suffering from NASA invention disorder - invent something then find a use for it? If so, they can first find a way to fix my bent MiniDisc player to fix itself.

Re:You could fit ... (1)

LordHugeMongus (683064) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251472)

Yeah, i don't see why you couldn't put buttons on this thing. If its too small for buttons, its too small to hold on to... having it be flexible so it won't break when you sit down with it in your pocket might be nice, but there's no need to eliminate buttons alltogether just because its possible.

Only option will be to gently bend them??? (1, Interesting)

sould (301844) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251386)

When computers become too small to be operated by buttons, how will we control them? The only option will be to gently bend them, according to engineers at Sony's Interaction


Nobody considered simple voice recognition?

Re:Only option will be to gently bend them??? (1, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251401)

Bender, Computer Operator.

Re:Only option will be to gently bend them??? (5, Insightful)

achurch (201270) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251444)

Nobody considered simple voice recognition?

No, they finally realized it would be really, really stupid (and noisy) to have everyone talking to their PDAs.

Re:Only option will be to gently bend them??? (2, Insightful)

sould (301844) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251486)

No, they finally realized it would be really, really stupid (and noisy) to have everyone talking to their PDAs.


Or maybe they realised that the current crop of PDAs don't have enough grunt to do Voice recognition.


You never heard of a throat mic/earphones?

Re:Only option will be to gently bend them??? (1)

achurch (201270) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251540)

You never heard of a throat mic/earphones?

Well, I have heard of cell phones with sensitive microphones (say, just about any modern model), and yet every day I see (hear) people on trains yelling into them. And even if people knew how to use throat mikes properly, talking is still talking, still annoying, and still going to draw eyes (and ears).

Re:Only option will be to gently bend them??? (2, Interesting)

Chad E Dirks (681955) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251556)

"You never heard of a throat mic/earphones?"

Interesting.

Actually, I hadn't thought about that. Of course I understand how and why they work, but it hadn't come to mind.

Just the second link on a Google search produced such a device for "tactical" use, which, it says, is capable of clearly pickup up even a whisper here [rahq.com]

While these are rather expensive, perhaps the price would be significantly lower if mass produced at the rate mobile phones and PDAs are.

That would be quite nifty.

Re:Only option will be to gently bend them??? (3, Interesting)

ibsteveog (442616) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251450)

Voice recognition is nowhere near as capable as a mouse, keyboard, or even 'bending' for something such as gaming. Imagine playing half-life by having to say "strafe left, start shooting, duck, strafe right, stop shooting, reload, walk, stafe left, shoot, run right"... and thats not even aiming.

The only way voice recognition could handle a situation like that would to have higher level commands (almost like what you'd find in movies) that would make the game play itself, really. I imagine something like "go forward, explore cautiously... (wait wait wait) (see enemy) attack! aggressive! now evade! (enemy dies)"... i mean. Its basically playing itself (and it certainly could at that point). it'd just be a voice activated aimbot.

Now, about the only thing I think voice recognition is exceptionally good at is dictation of documents...

For everything else, there's [master]card :-P

Touch-talk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251519)

"Nobody considered simple voice recognition?"

Or the chord keyboard. [deafandblind.com]

one for the mods! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251395)

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Erm (4, Insightful)

G-funk (22712) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251405)

When computers become too small to be operated by buttons, how will we control them?

Here's a thought... when they get that small, small is no longer the issue... spend some time on improving battery life / screen resolution / feature X.

more ideas (5, Interesting)

leekwen (677248) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251425)

i remember there was a controller for the SNES, Genesis, and i think NES called the turbo touch 360 that used a laser sensor on a flat surface instead of the Dpad, i was thinking maybe an updated version of that which detects a finger covering some light emitting gizmo.

or how about connectors which can be fused through skin?

and i've often seen elevator buttons which aren't buttons but solid flat things that seem to only activate when i touch it with my finger (i tried poking one with my keys and it didn't work), i'm not sure how those work but it seems like that could be implemented in a thin device as well.

bending seems like a decent idea but i'm so used to jamming my finger onto things to make things happen.

Re:more ideas (1)

Meowfaceman (637882) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251542)

Believe me when I tell you that, much like this, the Turbo Touch 360 was an interesting and potentially beneficial idea. In theory. Theory and practice are two very, very different things.

Design fault (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251465)

Seems to me that flexing the device is more complex & difficult and than using buttons. I think they are barking up the wrong tree with this idea!

Finally... (-1, Flamebait)

GrodinTierce (571882) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251468)

you can control a dildo hands-free, while its inside you.

I was wondering when they would come out with that (3, Funny)

jrl87 (669651) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251469)

Finally, I might actually be able to get the all new , redesign, second generation Etch-a-Sketch

Screw flexible computers! (-1, Flamebait)

Soporific (595477) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251489)

We want more flexible women! To screw...

~S

Re:Screw flexible computers! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251561)

go to vegas and grab an advertisement paper available on the sidewalks. you will find the only women (flexible or not) that will let you screw them. Of course, it will require payment, but that's the only way you will ever get any. that is unless you live next door to a blind retard.

Re:Screw flexible computers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251584)

Understanding sarcasm isn't your strong suit is it?

Swivel it (2, Funny)

IdleLay (682465) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251491)

I wonder if this device can be made into the form of an office swivel chair. A few receptionist/office admin would get a lot more work done by simply sitting there and swivel and shake.

cursor control (5, Interesting)

ThePeices (635180) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251497)

Im not sure the idea of moving a cursor by moving your finger on a small touchpad is the most efficient idea, UI wise. It seems too ungainly, and a pain to use. Touchpads are not as good as a mouse, especially a small one. The only easy way to interface is to touch the screen on the front. Though im not sure how one gets around entering text easily...our current ways of using a stylus, moving a cursor, or pressing tiny keyboard buttons just to enter in some words just doesnt cut it. There has to be an easier and more efficient way of doing this.

Re:cursor control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251605)

The thinkpad eraser-clitoris!!

Works with mac GUI model not MS (3 button)! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251507)

A Touch sensitive pad can work with :click, drag, double tap, tap, and even triple tap, but it cannot understand majically WHICH GODDAMNED finger you are using by using psychic powers.

That is why the Apple Mac OS (no second mouse button idiocy) , and NeXTStep gui (2nd mouse = 1st button unless custom overridden by user after purchase) are ideal for flexible illuminated placemat computers.

This was discussed in 1983.

Apple planned on this over 20 years ago.

That is whay a gui needs to be finger-order insensitive. The COMPLETE gui.

The mouse pointer can be drawn offset half an inch above the estimated center point of your finger tip pressure.

I love Apple. And having a graphical user interface since the Apple Lisa shipped in November 1982 (same month the black and white cassette-drive 64K ram IBM PC shipped for 600 dolalrs at Sears) is a great thing.

I am glad the Apple GUI won... but I am saddened that linux people cannot unclutter their lives and respect one-button plans on a flexible computer placemat computer of 2010.

It is perfectly suited for Apple gui model... unlike MS windows, which has a few actions that REQUIRE two buttons and cannot be implemented on a placemat flexicomputer easily.

Re:Works with mac GUI model not MS (3 button)! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251536)

It takes no time at all to learn to use the right mouse button, and the expressive power is very convenient for non-trivial apps. It saves mouse motion. We COULD learn to type on two keys with morse code, and would even feel that we had quicker mastery, but even if we got good at it it would be a lot of wasted motion and just plain slower than normal typing for anyone who went ahead and learned to type.

Two buttons work great on the windows platform as do 104 keys. They don't work on a little flexible computer, but neither does a steering-wheel. Demanding that every OS cater to the capabilities of little flexible computers makes as much sense as demanding that the MacOS serve as an optimald esign for controlling a car. It doesn't. Too bad. That's not what it's there for.

New puzzle game? (1)

gerddie (173963) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251509)

To me it looks like searching the map will become similar to one of those puzzle maze games - bend too much and you will end up in the middle of nowhere.

Bloom County (5, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251527)

"When computer get too small for buttons..."

Reminds me of a Bloom County comic strip where Milo & gang go to the new 3000 theatre mega-cinema or whatever it was called. An announcement comes over the P.A. system: "Due to our recent expansion to 3000 screens, our screen size has shrunk so small it's no longer visible. Please exit to the side."

Unless the device has a different practical use than displaying information (such as playing MP3s or whatever) you're not really going to want something so tiny it's physically unusable. There's something to be said for real buttons that you can press and get positive tactile feedback.

Pocket Mayhem? (1)

revcorrupt (254160) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251535)

It would be really interesting when people decided to put one of these things in there pocket without turning it off. Every time they set down, it could be executing a program and running amuck. I guess it would be no worse than forgetting to lock your cell phone key pad and accidentally dialing 911 on it. :-/

A prototype demonstration ... (4, Informative)

gerddie (173963) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251544)

... in quicktime format (mplayer can do this) movie can be found here [sony.co.jp]

bender the robot... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6251548)

... has nothing to do with my comment, but I was thinking about how it would be nice to have softer, more organic bendable devices to stuff in my pockets, this thought came specifically after I pulled my new motorola T720 out of my pocket and discovered the anteanna had gone impotent on me... permanently.

I'm all for some more flexible devices, but the flexibility controlling them?, would there be the equivalent of a "hold" switch or keyguard to prevent you from accidentaly hacking the CIA by doing jazzercise (assuming these gain wireless capabilities) or maybe just accidently creating a bunch of new To Do list items simply stating "......." (I get that a lot with my palm pilot with a broken off cover, also because of pocket stuffing)

Or should I just stop whining and don a Batmanesque belt presenting all my devices within my reach and within women's views so as to entice them to <sarcasm> pursue that "Batmanesque stud" </sarcasm>

Hey, bite my shiny metal ass!

you can write on your watch (3, Interesting)

73939133 (676561) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251608)

This seems like a solution in search of a problem. Using Jot (or other character-at-a-time input methos), you can write on something as small as a watch face [fossil.com] .

Touchable (3, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | more than 11 years ago | (#6251622)

If they can make a device "bendable" why not just "touchable". No large protruding buttons, but maybe something to sense impact, body heat or electrostatic impulses. My touchpad on my laptop didn't seem to have a large controller chip, if they could microsize that perhaps we could have touchpad-cards?
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