Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Can’t Humans and Computers Just Get Along? Microsoft Research Is Trying to Make Sure They Do

Using your finger for an input device ...

"Using a finger instead of a stylus on a small touch-screen device. Making Web searches for images more intuitive. Teaching computer skills to non-literate populations. Using a mouse in mid-air as a pointing device.

These innovative technology pursuits are among hundreds of research projects being presented this week at the international Computer/Human Interaction (CHI) 2007 Conference, which goes into full swing today at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. They also represent a small sample of the work that Microsoft Researchers are doing to enrich people’s lives by making technology more user-friendly.

Microsoft Researcher Patrick Baudisch, for example, believes that the best technologies are the ones we don’t even notice. By Baudisch’s way of thinking, a technology that’s simple, intuitive and unobtrusive is a technology that people will use liberally to enhance their everyday lives. Some of the latest projects that Baudisch has been working on fit this description, including Shift, an intriguing new technology that lets a person accurately operate a stylus-based device, such as a personal digital assistant (PDA) or ultra-mobile PC (UMPC), with his or her fingers.

Photo Description: Shift technology makes it possible to use a pointer on a PDA that can be guided by finger motion -- once the pointer is in position, the user simply lifts his thumb or finger to select the target.

This week, Shift technology is getting noticed, and in a big way. A research paper discussing Shift won a Best Paper Award at CHI 2007. Titled “Shift: A Technique for Operating Pen-Based Interfaces Using Touch,” the paper was written by Baudisch, a research scientist in human-computer interaction (HCI) in the Adaptive Systems and Interaction Research Group at Microsoft Research, in collaboration with University of Toronto researcher Daniel Vogel during Vogel’s internship at Microsoft Research."    (Continued via WebWire)    [Usability Resources]

Finger As Input Device - Usability, User Interface Design

Finger As Input Device


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