Twist and squeeze UMPCs with force-sensing technology

Ms_force_sensing

If your frustration with mobile technology has ever become a little violent (a nice hard tap always gets a crashed system to shape up or at least make you feel better, right?), then you’ll be one step ahead of the crowd if Microsoft’s force-sensing technology is implemented into a future generation of UMPCs and other handhelds. In a research paper (PDF) discovered by BBC’s dot.life, a trio working out of the Microsoft Cambridge Lab details a "new type of input for mobile devices by sensing forces such as twisting and bending applied by users."

Force_gestures_umpc

Using a first-gen Samsung Q1, the team created a "custom additional casing" prototype equipped with four sensors that recognizes four distinct forces without damaging the original hardware: stretching/compressing, squeezing/steering, bending/folding, and screwing/twisting. The gestures, the team demonstrated, can be used to turn a page, switch applications, and perform other actions commonly managed by keyboard shortcuts.

Advantages of force sensing include:

  • Less reliance on hardware controls, which means smaller devices that "maximize the utility of the whole surface area"
  • Standardized interface (i.e., fewer differences in location and function of hardware controls among all devices)
  • "Intuitive to discover through observation, and easy to remember and use"
  • Touch screen can be used for purposes other than simple commands
  • Natural viewing angle of display at all times (compared to a device that uses "shaking" and "tilting" methods)

It’s an innovative idea, but I’m not sure it would take the mobile world by storm the way Apple’s multi-touch did. Isn’t it more fun to physically swipe the screen to turn a page than to squeeze or bend the hell out expensive hardware?

[Engadget]
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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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