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Wiimote Turns TV into Touchless MS Surface

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the now-thats-what-i'm-talking-about dept.

GUI 104

RemyBR writes "User interface project allows you to control objects on a display using gestures, working like Microsoft's Surface but without touching the screen at all. Inspired by Johnny Chung Lee's work, the system requires you to wear Minority Report-style gloves equipped with infrared emitters on your fingertips. A Wiimote on top of the display keeps track of these IR LEDs, while the software can read the motion down to two-finger pinching gestures for image zooming."

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104 comments

What style gloves? (5, Funny)

techpawn (969834) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153354)

the system requires you to wear Minority Report-style gloves
come on! Don't toy with my emotions!!! Power glove man! System requires you to wear modified power gloves!

Re:What style gloves? (3, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153372)

I love the Power Glove. It's so baaad.

Re:What style gloves? (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153646)

I love the Power Glove. It's so baaad.
Oh, c'mon. This one's on YouTube for cryin' outloud. At least provide some linkage [youtube.com] .

Re:What style gloves? (5, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153670)

If you actually need a YouTube video to know what I'm talking about, you need to hand in your geek card. NOW.

Re:What style gloves? (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153976)

Does that mean you get extra points for actually owning Minority Report?

Re:What style gloves? (4, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154018)

No, you lose (sorry, loose) points for that. Tom Cruise stars in that movie, remember? Which means you get scored -1 Scientology Wacko Supporter [youtube.com] . :-P

Re:What style gloves? (1)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153480)

What about one figure gestures?

Gloves + Compiz-Fusion (1)

vivin (671928) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153916)

When I saw this first on Johnny Chung Lee's site, I had the same idea (gloves et al). I was thinking how cool it would be if this could be combined with Compiz-Fusion or something like that (imagine manipulating the cube with your gloves!). I wouldn't mind trying to write something like this (but I don't have very much knowledge about writing code for X so not really sure where to start at all). I think it would be really neat. I was thinking that you could use gestures to manipulate the desktop. Either that or have a completely custom environment/desktop (sort of like in the video).

Bring Back the Power Glove! (2, Informative)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154600)

For my undergrad digital hardware project, I made one of these act as a Macintosh mouse. That was cool my professor let me get away with such an easy project.

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

You could have a very large vocabulary of gestures by using finger positions like modifier keys. Apparently, the native resolution of the Power Glove is 8 bit. This might not sound like much, but with a smoothing function like the one used for SmartNav head pointing devices, you can emulate much higher resolutions very well. (I got my girlfriend one of these because of her RSI, and I can tell you, it works very well, even though SmartNav's native resolution is only VGA.)

Stop the Wii shipments!!! (2, Funny)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153398)

Nintendo turns your televisions into a Microsoft product!

Re:Stop the Wii shipments!!! (1)

Kaeluka (1182731) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154744)

You can run - but you can't hide!

Re:Stop the Wii shipments!!! (2, Informative)

Tailsfan (1200615) | more than 5 years ago | (#22158760)

Only when hacked. Besides, Nintendo is MS's rival in the console industry.

If only we could control Slashdot with a Wiimote! (0, Flamebait)

garcia (6573) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153440)

I saw this video three weeks ago when it came out and went around the web alongside the video and mocking version [youtube.com] of the Microsoft Surface. Why are we waiting for Gizmodo before posting something cool? Should Slashdot just become an aggregator with comments and moderation for the other tech blogs out there?

Re:If only we could control Slashdot with a Wiimot (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22153536)

If you saw it three weeks ago, then why didn't you post it? Oh, you were too lazy? Then STFU.

Re:If only we could control Slashdot with a Wiimot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22153842)

maybe it's because slashdot is an empty shell of it's former self and is pretty worthless to contribute to on a meaningful level. i run into articles 2-3 times a week that i see on slashdot a couple of days later but due to not having done the slashdot goosestep i've lost all my mod points. do you really think i'm going to support such a corrupt system? i'm here to watch slashdot become the next digg and laugh and troll while it happens.

Re:If only we could control Slashdot with a Wiimot (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153952)

If you saw it three weeks ago, then why didn't you post it? Oh, you were too lazy? Then STFU.

Because I didn't think it was worth discussing on Slashdot? Perhaps because in the past when I've submitted what I thought was pretty cool shit it was rejected within minutes or rejected and then posted a few days later by someone else instead that had, what I felt to be, a lame writeup?

But most of all it's because I can't stand the fact that some of the writeups are nothing more than blog advertisements that link to the real article and they continue to get pushed through seemingly w/o even hitting the firehose.

Re:If only we could control Slashdot with a Wiimot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22155048)

Well, this is the first time I've ever had a 0 and a +5 related to the same post... Nice work moderators!

Re:If only we could control Slashdot with a Wiimot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22157550)

Maybe because the technology behind the MS Surface is already years old?

Re:If only we could control Slashdot with a Wiimot (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154054)

If you saw it a few weeks ago, why didn't you submit it to slashdot? Your post makes no indication that you did so.

Slashdot is like OSS. If there's something you don't like, try to fix it yourself. At least that's what I've been told dozens of times.

Re:If only we could control Slashdot with a Wiimot (1)

reybrujo (177253) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154330)

Actually, we waited for Gizmodo to pick it from Oh Gizmo! [ohgizmo.com] to pick it from Hacked Gadgets [hackedgadgets.com] to pick it from Hack a Wii [hackawii.com] to pick it from the source [cynergysystems.tv] . Bureaucracy and fact checking, that is the way newspapers work!

Table (4, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153450)

Would it be possible to shine IR light through the edge of a plexiglass surface, and then when the user touches the surface it would cause the IR to scatter at that point creating a point source for the Wiimote to track?

Re:Table (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153516)

That's crazy. Just crazy enough to work.

Actually, I think it sounds like a great idea... I wish I had the parts and time to try things like that.

Potential issue: Dust, fingerprints, etc... Wouldn't they also cause the same effect?

Maybe there's a material that causes IR light (or even all light) to reflect (or reflect differently) in an area where force is applied?

Re:Table (2, Interesting)

slobarnuts (666254) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153606)

Yea, pretty much the same theory behind most of the homemade FTIR boxes (google it, or check out the NUIgroup), instead of using a webcam with IR filter removed, just use a wiimote. The system doesn't provide the best tracking though.

Re:Table (2, Informative)

dustbowl (809387) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154848)

You can even do it with a regular webcam and some IR lights - check out the forums at http://nuigroup.com/ [nuigroup.com] I recently built my own touch table from scratch - some IR lights point at a perspex surface, and an old projector back projects onto the perspex to provide a picture to interact with. The webcam has a small IR filter attached to the front, and this cuts out the regular lights. When my fingers touch the surface, they create hotspots that are tracked (known as Diffuse Illumination). You can also put the lights along the side of the perspex, and create a surface that uses FTIR (frustrated total internal reflection). So there are two ways of achieving similar results to Surface. If you are interested, check out nuigroup - everyone is very helpful if you run into any problems

Dupe (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22153474)

Wow, slashdot editors are worthless. If you were my employees you would have been fired a long time ago.

http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/11/12/1714232&tid=222 [slashdot.org]

Re:Dupe (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153642)

Uhhh... no. This article links to a previous article, which links to the article you linked to. Each of these articles shows a progressive evolution of the concept. The article you linked to used reflective tape to accomplish the IR tracking. The article linked to by this article shows how to use a light pen for greater accuracy. THIS article combines the two approaches using IR equipped gloves to create a highly accurate touch surface.

Not a dupe- sort of. (1)

toppavak (943659) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153696)

The first article was about the original hack which used a test interface and IR-reflective tape. This article seems to be about a project to implement the no-touch hack in a more usable fashion in an actual application. Definitely a step forward and pretty cool.

Re:Dupe (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153808)

Let me guess, you just lost on the gameshow "The Apprentice" and you feel sore about it.

PS. YOU'RE FIRED!

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22155552)

Yeah, I saw the video of the guy showing this off like a month ago.

New motto: Old news for nerds. Stuff that sorta mattered.

from tfa: it kinda works (3, Informative)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153494)

If the video crashes at some point, a quick recap: it kinda works. You can see at certain points, the images get dropped and it looks like it doesn't totally track perfectly with where the fingers vs. screen are. However, it is an awesome technology and idea... maybe with a couple of remotes you could triangulate more precisely and get that true 'minority report' feel... just what i need for my tri-monitor setup :)

Re:from tfa: it kinda works (1)

toppavak (943659) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153866)

It seemed to me like the app was just lagging a bit, its possible that the demo was just put together inefficiently on a slow computer- the other demonstrations by the original hacker were very impressive and smooth. I have no doubt that this could lead to an extremely well-polished and affordable interface in the not-so-distant future. You know what would be really amazing- if they integrated the 3-d "face" tracking hack into the system and built a 3-d/2-d hybrid no-touch interface. Moving around with the gloves on would change your perspective laterally. somehow turning on "mouse mode" by say pressing two fingers together would allow you to move a cursor 2-dimensionally from that perspective which becomes locked and a pressing down a third finger could act as a 'click.' Sort of a continuous virtual workspace- replacing the Compiz Cube with a cylinder, although I find it hard to imagine ways in which adding that 3-d aspect would be a productivity boost. It could definitely be used to make really freaking cool games. A 3-d RTS in which you can actually move around on the battlefield by changing position relative to the screen?

Re:from tfa: it kinda works (1)

jma05 (897351) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154634)

> its possible that the demo was just put together inefficiently on a slow computer

Highly doubtful. The objects move just fine after he has successfully targeted them. I think it has more to do with human performance. The issue is simply with the low motor resolution of the arm muscles compared to the more dexterous fingers. It can also be more fatiguing to hold them up in air since larger muscle groups are needed. MS Surface and Minority Report UI use large muscle groups to roughly locate the object but use the fingers to actually interact. Having a combined visual, motor and partial tactile point of reference also helps at least in learnability but we can get used to that part like we did with Mice.

> I have no doubt that this could lead to an extremely well-polished and affordable interface in the not-so-distant future.

These types of interfaces are nothing new and have been studied for decades as multi-modal interfaces. What is nice however, about this one is that it has been put together using commodity hardware (Wii). It will help geeks play with such interfaces and by sheer numbers can help drive innovation since till now the technology has been limited to usability researchers.

> A 3-d RTS in which you can actually move around on the battlefield by changing position relative to the screen?

Now games are a different thing. They don't need efficient interfaces, just fun and cool ones... kind of like the Wiimote.

Re:from tfa: it kinda works (1)

toppavak (943659) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154952)

Highly doubtful. The objects move just fine after he has successfully targeted them. I think it has more to do with human performance.
Taking another look at the video, and the better quality one on their website, I'll have to agree with you on that.

They don't need efficient interfaces, just fun and cool ones... kind of like the Wiimote.
Thats exactly the point I was trying to make with that. With a no-touch multi-touch interface with position tracking using inexpensive hardware (a $40 wiimote, mostly open-source software, a few IR-LEDs that cost pennies and a pair of $5 gloves) you could create a really cool interface for a game. Even if Nintendo or a 3rd party developer doesn't come out with a game for the Wii that takes advantage of 'hacks' like this, a FOSS (or even closed-source) PC game created around a position aware no-touch 3D interface would be really really cool.

Re:from tfa: it kinda works (1)

jordan314 (1052648) | more than 5 years ago | (#22156818)

The computer was working fine, it's the wiimote itself that is having trouble. In particular it was having trouble recognizing the pinch gesture. The wiimote can track up to 4 IR sources at once, but it's pretty low resolution and when you get two points close together (the pinch) it gets confused. I tried Johnny Lee's hacks - they're pretty amazing, but don't work as well for me as they did in his demo - the wiimote's limited resolution combined with its 45 range makes apps stutter and stop responding intermittently similar to what you see in this video. The wiimote has a lot of potential but other than for DIY novelty, I don't see any of this going 'prime time' until the wiimote itself can be improved, or at least until better IR point threshold algorithms are worked out.

Hand magic (1)

maczealot (864883) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153568)

Just give me some Newton handwriting recog code on there and I'd probably never leave home again.. And no thought magic for me please, hand is the highest interface I wanna go.

Re:Hand magic (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153656)

And no thought magic for me please, hand is the highest interface I wanna go.
Must... Resist... Joke...

Re:Hand magic (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153734)

Get this ported to OSX then. OSX has the Newton's handwriting system under the name of Inkwell. You just need the proper hardware for it.

Re:Hand magic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22163682)

So is that how the Axiotron Modbook works? I didn't realize that there was already support for touch technologies in OS X, although I suppose it makes sense. That's how all those touchscreen modded MacBooks, iBooks, and PowerBooks came into existence, as well as the multi-touch support on the iPhone, the iPod touch, and the multi-touch gestures on the MacBooks (particularly the MacBook Air) work, I guess. That being said, I bet you could easily set up such a device.

Pretty flash. (2, Interesting)

Optio (1225470) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153744)

I'd be very interested to see this kind of thing integrated with Bumptop [slashdot.org] . If Bumptop itself was then modified to have a little PC on it, well. Things start to get a bit recursive. Like standing with a mirror in front of you and another behind.

A desktop on a desktop on a desktop....

Re:Pretty flash. (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154672)

What, like Enlightenment?

Re:Pretty flash. (1)

Optio (1225470) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154864)

Not having seen Enlightenment save for a quick skim read of the wikipedia article, I cant really comment, but I assume you refer to the multiple desktops and the grids theyre arranged in. In which case, kindof, except that instead of (as an analogy) a six pack of beer, more like hundreds of beer cans with the ends cut off and jammed inside the ends of the adjacent one.

Re:Pretty flash. (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 5 years ago | (#22157788)

Yeah kinda.

Like with Gnome and KDE, Enlightenment have desktops next to each other, like sheets of paper laid onto a desk next to each other.

But, imagine you have the page layout stacked two, three, or more high on top of each other, much like your beer can analogy.

I get what you try to illustrate with the mirror analogy. I just find it hard to bend my mind around how it would work on a user interface...

Also, am I the only one who doesn't find it strange that two dudes discussing a computing tech use beer cans to illustrate a point?

Wiimote (2, Interesting)

MasaMuneCyrus (779918) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153928)

Why not just use the Wiimote itself as a remote control? It seems more fun and practical.

Re:Wiimote (1)

Bongo Bill (853669) | more than 5 years ago | (#22155130)

Variety. Waving around an IR-sensitive, motion-sensitive stick is useful for some purposes that other interfaces can't handle, but the same is true of virtually any input device. This has its own niche to fill.

Re:Wiimote (1)

kneemoe (1042818) | more than 5 years ago | (#22156014)

have you tried pointing that thing at the screen for more than a few minutes at a time? unless you get a pistol grip add-on it feels awfully funky on your wrist after a while.

Touch and Feel User Interface (3, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153964)

We're used to moving an actual thing around to do stuff. The physical reaction into our fingers is very important. The mouse gives a minimum, but the trackpad gives more. Touchless manual gestures don't keep the hands locked in a feedback loop with the virtual object, so they'll be clumsy.

What I'm waiting for is a thin memory plastic layer over a touchscreen, that can raise bumps and edges defining onscreen GUIs. Vibrating gloves could be good for simulating textures, but there's no tech for simulating tensile or inertial force in virtual objects. Maybe some kind of eccentric gyroscope, but I've never seen one.

Re:Touch and Feel User Interface (1)

Moonpie Madness (764217) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154060)

This is generally true, but we've seen lack of tactile replaced fairly effectively by clicking noises inthe ipod, and I see no reason why we can't do something similar here.

Or you could have a string that retracts when you manipulate something, simulating a force against the finger. That would be pretty sweet. Though I kinda find the whole project annoying. I like a cursor, mouse, and keyboard. I don't know how much time I want to sift through my pics, and keyboard shortcuts are way more efficient than actually gesturing like a monkey that I want this file, this file, and that file in that folder or whatever.

When I see MS Surface videos, I wonder why I would want to do any of that stuff. This is at least better in that I don't need a freaking empty table in my home. We'll see what comes of this. Maybe there's something useful to be seen.

Re:Touch and Feel User Interface (1)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154262)

If you want to make a glove that can pull on your fingers in various ways I would look to using 'muscle wire'. When current is applied to the metal it contracts much like a muscle. Though you need to band them together in clusters to get any kind of strength and possible heat dissipation. Heat is the enemy as if the wire doesn't cool down quick enough it wont expand back to regular size. But this type of mechanic to a feedback glove would be best in my mind. Anything with like regular mechanical parts like motors or whatever would be too annoying and wouldnt have that organic feel to hand motion.

Re:Touch and Feel User Interface (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154524)

Well, memory plastic fibers do that without as much heat inefficiency. And though "addressably rigid" fibers are appropriate to simulating shapes of objects held in the gloves, they can't simulate position or other inertial values (eg. the motion of a ball through the air resisting the momentum of a catching hand). I wonder whether three elliptical gyros could cycle in proportions that both net to a 3D vector and sum to an inertial mass effect. If lots of those devices were nanoscale at very high speed, they might feel like a moving object. Which could also resist pressure from each hand interactively to feel like two faces of a single, solid object, even simulating variable softness on its virtual surface.

Re:Touch and Feel User Interface (1)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154918)

it would be pretty awesome if such an implementation was cheap :) Oh maybe (this might be just gimmicky but whatever) you could hold like a ball, that could be squeezed. It could fill with liquid via a pump and be filled or emptied based on whatever output from the comp, essentially giving you an object in hand that it tactile and changes in weight. Sounds messy but I wonder what it would feel like.

Re:Touch and Feel User Interface (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#22155372)

Maybe a ball with a surface covered in the textural memory plastic I mentioned, but elastic, with coiled shape fibers inside that can create textured shapes and sizes on demand, both convex and concave.

I really think there's some kind of gyroscopic way to simulate at least the inertial mass, and maybe somehow a 3D motion vector. The other option is some really dynamic electromagnet, but I never like the idea of magnetic fields sprayed around a room, especially one that can have magnetic media or CRTs.

There's already a gaming market for this. I wish someone would try to market something more ambitious than the Wiimote, so we can start evolving the winners already.

Re:Touch and Feel User Interface (1)

nedaf7 (851534) | more than 5 years ago | (#22155204)

Tried to mod you Insightful, instead I missed and modded you Troll. I am not using the interface in the video, however, so I have no excuse.

Re:Touch and Feel User Interface (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#22155490)

Thanks. Posting in the thread destroys the mod. Besides, this is all purely virtual, anyway.

Re:Touch and Feel User Interface (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 5 years ago | (#22155316)

Heat's not much of a problem, once you get the Clan heatsinks. Just don't get your myomer formulas from anybody named Justin.

Re:Touch and Feel User Interface (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154456)

The clicking sound works because it's coming from something physical in your hand. The sound waves are close enough to actual mechanical vibration of your fingertips that the illusion in your ear (and in fact a tiny vibration of the fingertips) can work. But if there's nothing in your hand, the illusion from the learned association will fail, or be so tenuous as to offer a negative learning experience. Though I'd like to see tests of a demo with really high precision stereo audio apparently originating the sound from the fingers.

But the heard cues take a much longer, complex, and mediated (interfered) path than do tactile cues directly to the fingers interacting with the virtual object. Ask any BMW driver how important the vibrating steering wheel is to keeping control in splitsecond maneuvers, and how rewarding it is to do so, well before the eye or ear processes what just happened.

Re:Touch and Feel User Interface (1)

Moonpie Madness (764217) | more than 5 years ago | (#22160866)

Actually, I never had the ipod itself click, though I realize that's an option. I had the click in my headphones, and it still works.

I didn't say it was totally convincing. It's enough to be satisfied that your finger is creating an effect.

Re:Touch and Feel User Interface (1)

Geoff-with-a-G (762688) | more than 5 years ago | (#22158560)

We're used to moving an actual thing around to do stuff. The physical reaction into our fingers is very important. The mouse gives a minimum, but the trackpad gives more.

Actually that's one of the things the Wiimote does well, at least when using the Wii proper. Pointing it produces a mouse cursor, and as the cursor travels over each clickable icon, the Wiimote vibrates, giving something of the sense your finger would have traveling over several large embossed buttons. Of course, the pointing device in your hand has to have the vibration capability, so using the Wiimote as the receiver, rather than pointer, sacrifices this advantage.

Ball out boys! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22153978)

It's Wii strokin' time!!

Updated video posted (3, Informative)

cynergylabs (1225520) | more than 5 years ago | (#22153992)

An updated version of this video has been posted to the Cynergy Labs Site. http://labs.cynergysystems.com/ [cynergysystems.com]

More info, better video (2, Informative)

pixelcowboy (617065) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154112)

A better explanation of how he built this can be found here [cynergysystems.com] and a better video with a cool example of navigating a 3D object can be found at the Cynergy Labs [cynergysystems.com] site.

Where is the software (4, Insightful)

brent_linux (460882) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154184)

Ok I get it. You can make multitouch interfaces. I have made multitouch interfaces myself using a couple different methods.

They aren't worth a damn though unless you have something to use them with. Where is the multitouch picture organizing software that I can display on my coffee table and let me family sort through the pictures. Where is the multitouch D&D program that will let me and my friends move our characters through a dungeon with miniatures? Where is the multitouch coloring book that I can put a bunch of kids on? Multitouch math races? Multitouch Chemical Compound manipulation?

We need software. We have ways to interact now. We need things to interact with.

Missing features? (1)

GeePrime (831254) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154230)

It seems to me that the Microsoft Surface also let you place devices on it, and via a bluetooth connection, you could throw objects on, or pull them off. Example, place a portable hard drive and a digital camera on it, pull the photos off, sort them, and throw the ones you like onto the hard drive. That's what really impressed me with the Microsoft product, and lacking that feature, it isn't a Microsoft surface, just another multi-touch display.

Re:Missing features? (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154394)

Well, Bluetooth doesn't require a table. Seems like it would be trivial to just hold or point to a Bluetooth-enable device like a portable hard drive or camera, then have the data transferred. What's missing again?

Re:Missing features? (1)

GeePrime (831254) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154698)

Right, but now, with this set-up, you would need IR LED's on the device to track them. It is now not as simple as just "putting it on the table", I need to put something on it.

Oh, and how would it distinguish the IR LEDs from your fingers, as opposed to those of the device? I guess since the ones on the device are fixed, that could be tracked.

The point is, sure, it could be done, but it wouldn't be nearly as slick. What it comes down to, is you are manipulating an object on the screen, and want to interact with another object off the screen.

Actually, I just got an idea as I typed this. When the object pairs via Bluetooth, it places an image on screen of it. What it comes down to is, yes, we can work around something LIKE what the surface does - but none of which are perfect.

Re:Missing features? (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154882)

Why would the device need IR lights on it? If it's bluetooth, it can be detected, and the system can be set to make a gesture or menu selection to get data from it. If there are more than one bluetooth devices in range, you'd have to select which one. Just like the Surface, which requires you to apply barcode-like stickers to each device so it can be recognized/distinguished from other bluetooth-enabled devices in range.

Two words (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154246)

Two words: tired arms.

Unfortunately, these sort of interfaces suffer from the same problems that doomed touch screen and light pens 20 years ago ("They can just touch the screen! How easy is that??") Users liked them at first, but holding your arm up is tiring. Try reaching out to your monitor and trace your Slashdot window for five minutes and see how long you last. It's *hard*.

There's a reason people in the Old Days wrote on flat tables, and didn't write on easels. That's also why artists who do use easels typically do "stroke and rest" (and why cartoonists use a flatter table)

A touch table is far superior for this sort of thing for that reason.

Re:Two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22154460)

roger that, i can already do all of those things with out even lifting my arm.
a mouse is way more efficient

Re:Two words (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 5 years ago | (#22155396)

That's the same reason that voice activated computers won't fully take over: people get tired of talking.

Re:Two words (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#22155700)

That's the same reason that voice activated computers won't fully take over: people get tired of talking.

Well, at least until we get real A.I., when I can just say, "Balance the damn checkbook!" or "Send a letter to that pain-in-the-ass customer." :)

Re:Two words (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 5 years ago | (#22156070)

So put the wiimote facing up from the floor and use a glass desk.

Re:Two words (1)

coldcell (714061) | more than 5 years ago | (#22159482)

I used to think that'd be a decent solution, migrate to a screen/interface hybrid and put it flat on the desk, but then I remember University and how looking down at a desk for hours can really hurt my neck. I'm not sure where the touch technologies are heading, but it'd be nice to have an interface with no drawbacks in terms of ergonomics.

Re:Two words (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 6 years ago | (#22161292)

You wouldn't need to have the monitor facing down. Put the monitor in the usual position and place your hand on the glass desk towards a bottom mounted wiimote (or similar device).

Re:Two words (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 5 years ago | (#22156534)

Two words: tired arms.

One word: exoskeletons. [slashdot.org]

Re:Two words (1)

EB FE (1208132) | more than 5 years ago | (#22156634)

Yeah, why don't we try two mice first? Hasn't anyone thought of multi-mouse computing?

Two more words (1)

SilverAlicorn (986453) | more than 5 years ago | (#22158078)

Learn guitar.

I'm tired of people propagating the old "your arms get tired" meme. They get tired, at first. If the interface has any merit, though, you'll stick with it, and your muscles adapt.

I work retail, so I have to stand for several hours at a time. At first, I used to get very tired, but years later and my stamina has increased phenomenally. It would be exactly the same with a multipoint gestural interface.

Re:Two words (1)

cjh79 (754103) | more than 5 years ago | (#22158274)

You'd get used to it. As a musician I routinely work under conductors who wave their arms around wildly for many hours at a time. They don't get tired. And believe me, they don't have any sort of super human strength or stamina.

In fact, it'd probably be an exercise benefit for most people.

Re:Two words (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#22158948)

You'd get used to it. As a musician I routinely work under conductors who wave their arms around wildly for many hours at a time. They don't get tired. And believe me, they don't have any sort of super human strength or stamina.

Sure, it's certainly possible, but you're also talking about professionals who have done it for years. I don't think one should have to athletically train to use a computer interface. :)

Re:Two words (1)

Bo'Bob'O (95398) | more than 6 years ago | (#22162974)

Sure, but, now we have LCDs that are half an inch thick, or less. It's juts as easy to put one on a desk as it is a mouse and keyboard. Now for large amounts of data, absolutely, a keyboard is the way to go, but there are a lot of applications that could have some very useful GUIs that are based around dynamic touchscreen controls.

Touch Screen (1)

Teflon_Jeff (1221290) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154254)

This can make for an affordable and effective screen display. Nintendo For The Wiin!

Rumble (2, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154296)

I hope the gloves incorporate rumble. That's my favourite aspect of the Wii OS. Feeling that little bump when you scroll the cursor over a button is so tactile and tangible. It reinforces that you should immediately pay attention because you're about to execute a command.

Only problem (1)

floki (48060) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154602)

As is well known in HCI research using your hands like this for some time becomes very tiring. But for showing off it's an impressive application :-)

inching towards VR... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22154622)

Next... get a few Wiimotes and add some more points to track the rest of your body. Then get a head mounted display or some 3D glasses [flightsim.com] , and plug it all into one of the virtual worlds [wikipedia.org] out there. For movement, I suppose you might want to also add in an omnidirectional treadmill, or a giant hamster ball [virtusphere.com] (I am not making this up)...

I watched the video and (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154696)

Heard the word "Microsoft" way too often, how long before they own the rights?

It isn't Microsoft Surface! (2, Informative)

notanatheist (581086) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154770)

Please stop referring to any multi-touch device as being like the "Microsoft Surface". MS did not come up with the idea of a multi-touch display. They steal and buy 99+ % of their technologies. Let's get PC and stop giving credit where it isn't due. It is a "multi-touch" surface. Not an MS Surface. /rant

Re:It isn't Microsoft Surface! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22154978)

They are using this Wiimote system to control a Microsoft Surface [microsoft.com] dumbass.

Re:It isn't Microsoft Surface! (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#22155512)

MS did not come up with the idea of a multi-touch display.

Yeah, yeah, and Apple didn't invent the GUI. Who cares? The one who gets the credit is the one who delivers the *practical* product, not the first solution. We say "like Microsoft Surface" because we don't have anything to refer to.

Wiimote Turns Father into Touchless Person (2, Insightful)

waveformwafflehouse (1221950) | more than 5 years ago | (#22154892)

Perhaps those eight days would have been better spent caring for the screaming child in the background.

Not. (3, Interesting)

no_opinion (148098) | more than 5 years ago | (#22155094)

I got to play with the Microsoft touch at CES. This is nothing like it. The MS table uses a camera underneath the screen, so it can do things like recognize physical objects. Imagine thumbing through artwork on the table, then putting your wireless MP3 player down on the table and dragging the artwork to it and having it wirelessly sync. Pretty cool, if you ask me. They demoed this at CES. Basically anything with a barcode can be recognized as a unique device. Without this type of physical object recognition, the Wii version is a poor substitute, besides the fact you can't actually use all 10 fingers (or 20, if there are two of you) at once.

wiidot (1)

KrazeeEyezKilla (955150) | more than 5 years ago | (#22155160)

can we move all the wiimote stories to their own site

Wiimote (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 5 years ago | (#22155310)

In case anyone wondered, the Wiimote can track up to 4 infrared sources. The Wiimote's on-board hardware does all the heavy lifting as far as processing the image and determining actual coordinates (and sizes) of infrared sources. If a project only requires tracking four objects then the Wiimote makes a fantastic piece of hardware for experimental and hobbyist use.

So in this demo, all the manipulation is done by tracking four coordinates grouped into two pairs.

Dan East

Nintendo get moving (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 5 years ago | (#22155486)

A piece of $4.99 hardware and Jonny Lee Chung's Hack [gizmodo.com] creates the #1 best selling Metroid of all time.

A fake? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22155638)

From the comments on Gizmodo:
BY SONYGUTS AT 01/22/08 11:08 AM
At about 1:28 he says, "Why don't we see what else we can do with this?" and the Mona Lisa slides off to the left, and it appears that his hands make the motion a fraction of a second later. Reverse lag? I'm not sayin' it's fake, but I would like to hear an explanation.

Touchless MS Surface? The MSS is touchless...duh. (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#22156316)

That phrase shows just how clueless and gullible, most people...including Taco...are when it comes to Microsoft.

The MS Surface 'table' (and it is one big ass table [youtube.com] ) relies on gestures/movement, with none of the functionality (save the on/off switch, I suppose), dependent on touch at all.

There are approx. 1/2 dozen cameras below the glass that triangulate movement above the glass - thus the need for the BAT.

urgh (2, Funny)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#22157832)

Interesting, except for the constant microsoft advertisement. "I love flash, but we built this in silverlight (continue on to long rant about how great that is with no relation to the topic whatsoever)", or the "and since it's built in .net it can communicate with the Wiimote", err yes? What's that gotta do with .net? Then the "oh, look a picture of me at some microsoft meeting", and on and on. All that really got on my nerves about 3/4 through the video.

Yuo Fail I7. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22158636)

Anyone reminded of Thunderbirds (1)

montyzooooma (853414) | more than 6 years ago | (#22165046)

while watching that video?
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