Tuesday, April 22, 2008

May the force be with you

Microsoft developes new force sensing technology ...

"Forget multi-touch, or tilt control accelerometers... Microsoft researchers have been working on force sensing technology that would let you bend/twist/stretch/squeeze your handheld device in order to control it.

The research has been carried out at Microsoft's Cambridge lab by James Scott, Lorna Brown and Mike Molloy. You can read their research paper here (pdf). All the images in this post come from the research paper.

The technology allows users to apply force to their portable device in order to carry out on-screen actions, such as flip a page in a document or switching between applications.

The researchers noted that more and more devices are becoming, in effect, large screens, with fewer physical buttons. They believe the technology could work in parallel with existing human computer interfaces, like multi-touch and tilt.

The technology uses four sensors that are embedded into the casing of the device so it does not have to be made out of special flexi-material.

The authors state: "With force sensing, the user interacts with the casing of the device, turning an otherwise passive component that just holds the device together into an active input surface."

To research the tech, the scientists made a prototype using a Samsung UMPC and gave visual and audio feedback to the user when applying force.

The scientists wrote: "The current prototype provides a click sound when enough force is applied to reach the end of the animation and lock in the new view."    (Continued via BBC NEWS, dot.life)    [Usability Resources]

Microsoft Force - Usability, User Interface Design

Microsoft Force

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