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."
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]