×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Display System That Knows Who You Are

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the all-about-the-videogames dept.

79

lee1 writes "New Scientist reports on an 'interactive computer display that keeps track of multiple users by differentiating between their touch'. The system consists of a touch-sensitive screen that can be operated by several users simultaneously. When a user touches the screen an electrical signal is sent through their body and picked up by a receiver located in their chair, telling a computer precisely where the screen was touched and by whom. Applications could include system access control, safer vehicle controls, and smarter videogames. The bottom line, in the words of one of the inventors: 'If the controls know who is operating them, they can behave appropriately.' The movie even has funkier than average background music."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

79 comments

Bad idea... (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405455)

I don't think I want a screen that can scream to the rest of the office, "Oh, it's another dirty pervert looking at me again."

Re:Bad idea... (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405580)

> I don't think I want a screen that can scream to the rest of the office, "Oh, it's another dirty pervert looking at me again."

"It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were telecommuting or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of bedroom eyes, a habit of muttering to yourself, anything that carried with it the suggestion of looking at b00bies, or having something to hide from HR. In any case, to sport wood at the office, was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Cubespeak: pantcrime."

- Little Sister, 1985

Re:Bad idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15411974)

Wow, great reply ;) ... Did you just make that up on the spot or is that a quote from a novel/book? If so, sounds interesting, but can't seem to find anything about it (just some TV movie on IMDB?) ... can you give some more info about where the quote's from?

Re:Bad idea... (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 7 years ago | (#15406007)

They should figure out how to get a pair of silicon breats to figure out who's touching them... It'd go great with this invention. All the salesmen I know would be beating down doors for Mnemonic Breats!(tm)

Re:Bad idea... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410539)

wtf is a breat? I can forgive the odd spelling mistake, but you do mean 'breast' right? :p

Re:Bad idea... (1)

Grab (126025) | more than 7 years ago | (#15411545)

And as spelling mistakes go, that was *odd*... (Not least the fact that he did it twice.)

Grab.

Sigh (3, Funny)

Yurka (468420) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405458)

Gone are the days of the generic PEBCAC - now computers will know exactly who is there between them and chairs.

Re:Sigh (2, Funny)

AWhiteFlame (928642) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405490)

On the contrary, it gives us some excellent opportunities as programmers. "Error: Brian is using this system. Enough said." "Warning: James is using the main system again. This may cause data corruption. Continue?"

Re:Sigh (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405546)

WHo doesn't really matter. All the computer cares about is that the problem sits between the computer and the chair.

Re:Sigh (2, Informative)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405585)

Its. PEBKAC.

Turn your badge in at the door, sir/ma'am.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15406809)

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

PEBKAC is an acronym which stands for "Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair".

Also used is PEBCAC, which stands for "Problem Exists Between Computer And Chair".

Good call, genius.

Re:Sigh (1)

Yurka (468420) | more than 7 years ago | (#15407327)

Between Computer and chair. Yes, K is the preferred variation, but the anonymity of that one was pretty much rendered dead by finger scanners.

The Musical Chairs Problem (3, Insightful)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405489)

When a user touches the screen an electrical signal is sent through their body and picked up by a receiver located in their chair, telling a computer precisely where the screen was touched and by whom.

Of course the chair would also need to be able to read the RFID tag implanted in your butt to solve the Musical Chairs Problem.

Re:The Musical Chairs Problem (3, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405563)

Maybe the system doesn't care that jim or bob is touching the screen, but rather that seat 1 or seat 3 is touching the screen. However, this also creates the problem that everyone must be sitting on a chair. Maybe they could just have something you stick on your finger tip, or have each user have a separate stylus. Would be a lot easier to implement than tranmitting the signal through the person, and hoping that they are sitting in the chair.

Re:The Musical Chairs Problem (1)

hoststalker (977103) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405658)

I think he was being funny. ;)

But yeah, the stylus idea makes a lot more sense. Especially if you were to use this in a meeting as a sort of whiteboard thing for a presenter.

Re:The Musical Chairs Problem (1)

svoida (961513) | more than 7 years ago | (#15407175)

There have also been installations of the DiamondTouch that feature conductive floor pads scattered in front of a DT display mounted vertically on the wall. The use of chairs just happens to work well when you're dealing with interaction around a table, which happens to be one of the big research threads coming out of the Mitsubishi Electric lab over the last several years. They've published a number of user studies (many at the ACM CHI [chi2006.org] conference) about how people interact with information when they're sharing an interactive table-type surface and working face-to-face.

The chair problem (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#15408440)

Would be a lot easier to implement than tranmitting the signal through the person, and hoping that they are sitting in the chair.


You're right. Having the user sitting in a chair is going to be the key problem. Specially some companies are going to run out of chairs, due to someone high in the hierachy keeping throwing said chairs, because he want to f*cking kill some other competing company.

Touch screen : detected.
Chair detector : ...TIMEOUT. Detector not responding, please check connection and try again.
Initialisation : done.
Waiting for input.

...touches a button on the screen...
  User reported as : STEVEBALLMER

Re:The Musical Chairs Problem (2, Funny)

luder (923306) | more than 7 years ago | (#15406114)

...RFID tag implanted in your butt...

Why are you people so pessimist? They have no need for such invasive measures... I think they're just going to use something similar to an anal probe, for which everyone already have a proper receiver. Actually, it seems like a pretty good idea, just think about it. It's universal, not limited to humans - maybe soon we can see fish using touch screens. Wicked, eh? Some may even get extra pleasure from using it, besides the joy of using a touch screen, that is - I'm pretty sure we can expect an increase in productivity in many offices. Only God knows what else can this thing bring in the future...

Ah, modern technology, you got to love it, right? Right?

Great! (1, Insightful)

imemyself (757318) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405511)

Wow, sending electrical signals through my body! What's not to like about that. I'm sure it will never mess up or anything...

Re:Great! (1)

guardiangod (880192) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405644)

You know, nerve signal [wikipedia.org] that runs thru your body is electricity, right?

Depending on the voltage, you may not even feel a thing. Do you feel anything when you use a touch screen?

Even if the voltage is high, as long as the electric does not travel thru your heart, you are fine.

Re:Great! (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405965)

Fingertip to arse goes through shoulder, which is conveniently located on your upper torso.

Your heart lives in your upper torso. This may cause even more potent issues for left handed users.

Keep your fingers off (5, Funny)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405512)

Awesome. I would love a monitor that tracks who puts there fingers on my screen. So I know who's fingers to break when the muck my display up.

OK, I'll be the first to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15405515)

Think of the possibilities with sexbots!

Chica chica bow bow!

Re:OK, I'll be the first to say it (2, Funny)

javachip (934245) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405628)

Computer: Get your filthy *&^*( off of my screen!
User: That's not mine. It's his.
Computer: Is that supposed to make me feel better?

Now the computer knows who hit it (2, Funny)

coffeechica (948145) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405556)

I like it. Finally I'll know when my boyfriend is playing with my desktop again, because then the screen will scream for help. No more rescuing the system after an embarrassed admission that the screen suddenly turned blue, when he didn't do anything except play with the settings a little.

Re:Now the computer knows who hit it (1)

guyfromindia (812078) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405591)

......No more rescuing the system after an embarrassed admission that the screen suddenly turned blue......
You dont need the expensive monitor with some cool technology.. just install linux for the blue screen problem! :) (any flavor will do)

Re:Now the computer knows who hit it (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15405635)

just install linux for the blue screen problem! :) (any flavor will do)

Does it come in Caffeine Free Diet Cherry Vanilla Strawberry Swirl Cream of Wheat Dr. Pepper flavor? With a twist of lemon?

Re:Now the computer knows who hit it (1)

coffeechica (948145) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405636)

That might lead to less blue screen, but more calls along the line of "honey, why does this look so different? And where can I find Minesweeper on this?" And I wouldn't even put it past him to manage a blue screen in linux.

No, better a screen that tells him to keep his hands where it can see them. :-)

Re:Now the computer knows who hit it (1)

TheJediGeek (903350) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405754)

I think Xscreensaver even has a windows BSOD screen saver.

Re:Now the computer knows who hit it (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405761)

yeap... and some of them are quite funny.. atleast that they are not real for the computer your viewing them on

Wait until Sony gets a hold of this.... (4, Insightful)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405572)

...instead of allowing anyone using the computer to see and hear their DRM content, they can charge everyone who sits at the same person for the privilege.

Oy vey.

Re:Wait until Sony gets a hold of this.... (1)

Jorkapp (684095) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405714)

Perhaps yes, but they can't charge you if you aren't sitting on the chair. Just have the person who owns the license sit on the chair, and crank up the speakers.

Conversely, it does allow for portable licensing, and could function as a new form of Biometric access. Imagine double-tapping a desktop shortcut to with your finger, and it will automatically recognize you and log in under your account. When you get up and leave, someone else could double-tap the same shortcut, and would be logged in under their account.

It shouldn't be something we should be dependant upon for security, as there would no doubt be situations a la Weekend at Bernie's [imdb.com] which result in security violations*.

* With HILARIOUS RESULTS

Re:Wait until Sony gets a hold of this.... (1)

cptgrudge (177113) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405874)

as there would no doubt be situations a la Weekend at Bernie's which result in security violations*.

* With HILARIOUS RESULTS

Hmm. On the topic of Weekend at Bernie's, IMDB [imdb.com] rates it as 5.5 out of 10 stars, and it only grossed 30.2 million [imdb.com] in the US.

One could say that the movie is neither hilarious nor has results.

Re:Wait until Sony gets a hold of this.... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410627)

Why is a double tap necessary? What a strange world I live in. Next you'll be telling me I need to use more than one finger?

Re:Wait until Sony gets a hold of this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15405756)

It's more Microsoft that would love to get a hold of this. They charge per-user for NT licenses, don't they?

Re:Wait until Sony gets a hold of this.... (1)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 7 years ago | (#15406108)

at least read the article summary. It says:
When a user touches the screen an electrical signal is sent through their body and picked up by a receiver located in their chair

so it doesn't differentiate between different people sitting at the chair on front of the computer - only between 2 people on different chairs.

Re:Wait until Sony gets a hold of this.... (1)

jheath314 (916607) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410624)

Bill: Open the doors, Hal
HAL: I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave
Bill: For the last time, my name's Bill!
HAL: Suuure it is.

Crappy prototype picture (-1, Troll)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405634)

What's the deal with that crappy prototype picture? It looks like they literally have a projector mounted to the celling.

Haven't they heard of Photoshop?

Re:Crappy prototype picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15405707)

That's because they really do have a projector mounted to the ceiling. They can't have a flat panel because the touch part currently cannot be made transparent, so it has to be overhead lighting.

Tell me when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15405657)

...they make a mixing console with access control lists.

mo(d dowN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15405693)

culture of abuse of OpeFnBSD. How not going 4ome Theo de Raadt, one But many find it Handy, you are free

Warning Stickers (4, Funny)

TavisJohn (961472) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405765)

And I can see the warning stickers now... "Do not use if you have a pacemaker or other heart condition." "Do not use during a lighting storm." "Please disscharge all static before you sit down and use the monitor." "Do not handle other electronic devices while using monitor, Damage or miss ID could occor." "Do not lick chair." "Do not use while wet." "Do not plug into a 220v outlet." (Yes we know it would be funy, but we can not be held responsible for any unwanted "Cooking")

Re:Warning Stickers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15406338)

When a user touches the screen an electrical signal is sent through their body and picked up by a receiver located in their chair...
And don't mention the electric chair needed to use the screen in the sales material.

Funky music (2, Interesting)

electron_plumber (693140) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405852)

The funky music in the video was composed and performed by Peter Wilder. I'm a big fan of his work. You can find out more about him here [dbaergo.com] ...

contact (1)

SilverLaker (961220) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405861)

Wouldn't a system like this require skin contact to work?
I can't see a "no pants" rule becoming corporate policy anytime soon...

Not a great example movie (2, Insightful)

Shawn Parr (712602) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405906)

Wow, that movie doesn't really show how the user detection works at all really. The section with the two different boxes was supposed to I guess, but since both users just made the boxes jiggle around it wasn't effective.

Definitely we can see that multiple input works, but that has been shown within the last year or two already, so that is nothing new.

You would think that if the major new feature is this user detection, they would have used different colors for the different users, or found some other method to really show off that it doing one thing for one user (resizing/moving windows for instance), while doing something else for the other user (scrolling through a window, selecting options in a different window, etc.).

And what was with the staged beverage spill. For a technology demo that was pretty weird.

I did find it ironic that the entire demo was done in XP, but they used Apple's website as their demo material.

Re:Not a great example movie (3, Informative)

electron_plumber (693140) | more than 7 years ago | (#15405986)

The boxes are in different colors - it's just hard to see. (We're researchers - not videographers!) Oh, and the spill was to show robustness. In the classic UIST video, an especially robust DiamondTouch is lit on fire (don't try this at home), and people continue to use it as the flames sizzle...

In any case, DiamondTouch is not really new. It is already a product which you can buy today! The article in New Scientist was originally going to focus on DT Controls, which is very new. It uses the same idenity trick as DiamondTouch, but applies it to non-virtual controls, such as in an airplane cockpit or on an automobile dashboard. One of the killer apps is allowing a passenger to operate a vehicle navigation system while the car is moving. (Typically, the system is locked out to prevent use by the driver.) The system really only knows which seat the touch is coming from, so it's not particularly Orwellian...

Re:Not a great example movie (1)

Shawn Parr (712602) | more than 7 years ago | (#15406333)

The boxes are in different colors - it's just hard to see.
That one example could have worked, except both people interacting are basically doing the exact same thing with their own box. As such we have no idea if the system really works, or if it has errors and is passing one person's input to the wrong box as the result to a casual observer would be the same. Now if one person was changing the box shape only, while the other person moved theirs only, and the shot showed their hands doing those actions and the boxes reacting, then you have a great example.

But with both making the boxes twitch in what seems like a spastic motion, it doesn't get the point across.

One of the killer apps is allowing a passenger to operate a vehicle navigation system while the car is moving. (Typically, the system is locked out to prevent use by the driver.) The system really only knows which seat the touch is coming from, so it's not particularly Orwellian...
Of course I don't expect the system to perform magic, and the concept of only allowing the passenger to control is an ideal use of the technology. My complaint is that with the demo video you can't really tell that it is truly working in that fashion.

Perhaps in addition to what I stated above about the boxes, another example could show two users interacting with the system, then launch a new app and have one user not able to do anything. I didn't see this in the current video, and it would show it off pretty well. It would be especially important to see the person interacting and then locked out during different 'modes' or applications during a single session.

Re:Not a great example movie (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 7 years ago | (#15406031)

Pop and other stuff ... like him wiping it up was to show 2 things:
1) ... It won't break if you pour pop on it, i wouldn't be comforatable doing that to a tv. ... kinda pointless though
2) Notice that neither the pop nor the touching while he was cleaning had an effect. Having multiple seperate inputs may not be that usefull. However, having a computer that your brother can't mash buttons crashing you into a wall is nice :p.

Not really new, but stil cool (1)

OnanTheBarbarian (245959) | more than 7 years ago | (#15406016)

This one's been around for a couple years, but might be new on Slashdot.

It's a pretty cool system subject to some limitations. People that I know that used it reported that bumping into each other confused the system (although the ability to form human chains and have multiple people in contact using the system together in various weird ways was the subject of a recent CHI paper). The inability to get up and move around makes it less appealing.

It's not really clear to me that having to sit in particular places and not move around is a worthwhile trade for the joys of 'identification', either, but I suppose that would depend on your application.

Mod up the music! (1)

xwizbt (513040) | more than 7 years ago | (#15406298)

Last month we had the dual touchscreen displays with the Matrix music. At least this is entirely original.

"bigbrother"? baloney (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#15406587)

What genius put "bigbrother" as a tag for this article? If you read anything in the submission beyond the horribly-written title, you find out that what the display actually does is differentiate between the people using it at a particular time, thus allowing several people to simultaneously use the same interface device.

This has nothing to do with ascertaining your identity, and this time you didn't even have to RTFA to figure that out.

BTW, the Jeff Han mentioned in TFA has a site where you can see a much more impressive [nyu.edu] demo video.

Finally, something to kill the joke... (1)

jftitan (736933) | more than 7 years ago | (#15406634)

You know the old tech joke... Error between Keyboard and Chair!

Now you actually can have the computer tell you that. Well I just can't wait to start telling my computer users this... "Yeah, the error is between the keyboard and chair.... no seriously, its you... stop touching the computer, and it wont break."

But then, we have always been able to say that... just now we can have the computer tell the user this. Then confirm it. Oh my job gets easier... Thanks Merl.

Only the Display can find out if... (1)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 7 years ago | (#15407174)

who washed their hands after using the toilet... Honestly why would you want to touch anyone's screen or mouse for that matter... eeewwwww~

Pretty lame demonstration (1)

dborod (26190) | more than 7 years ago | (#15407262)

Here is a page that has a much more impressive multi-touch sensing demonstration than just some doddles and window re-sizings: http://mrl.nyu.edu/~jhan/ftirtouch/ [nyu.edu]

Re:Pretty lame demonstration (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 7 years ago | (#15408466)

Whoo, even including funky music as well. But it was more for user identification (or, more acurately, chair identification). Not that there was much of an example of that in the movie of the original post.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...