Monday 29 July 2013

Recent trends - No-Touch Interfaces

We’ve gotten used to the idea that computers are machines that we operate with our hands.  Just as we Gen Xers became comfortable with keyboards and mouses, Today’s millennial generation has learned to text at blazing speed.  Each new iteration of technology has required new skills to use it proficiently.
            That’s why the new trend towards no-touch interfaces is so fundamentally different.  From Microsoft’s Kinect to Apple’s Siri to Google’s Project Glass, we’re beginning to expect that computers adapt to us rather than the other way around.
The basic pattern recognition technology has been advancing for generations and, thanks to accelerating returns, we can expect computer interfaces to become almost indistinguishable from humans in little more than a decade.

Tapped Out? Moving Toward a No-Touch Future
With advances in sensors and cameras, no-touch interfaces and devices will continue to be further integrated into daily life.Smartphones such as the Pantech Perception and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4 are the latest devices to incorporate touchless features, with each device enabling users to browse through picture galleries or answer a phone call by just waving a hand over the smartphone screen. The Galaxy S4 also has Smart Scroll, which detects eyes and scrolls web pages based on the angle the user tilts his or her head.
Many smartphone users are already familiar with no-touch technology thanks to the wide adoption of voice recognition software in wireless devices. Smartphone users use apps like Google Now on Android and Siri on iOS for hands-free access to endless information. And now, Google Chrome has added voice recognition to its latest version, enabling features like email dictation. This technology is also being incorporated into automobiles to allow for a hands-free mobile experience for drivers.
Gesture technology is also featured in products like Kinect for Xbox. To expand this functionality to computers, Kinect for Windows was created and uses software and sensors. One app for Kinect for Windows allows surgeons to use gestures to control medical images and scans on computers, eliminating time lost when using unsterilized computers then having to scrub up again. Intel has developed a gesture-sensing device using conventional and infrared cameras, microphones and software to enable apps on computers to track a person’s fingers, recognize faces, infer emotions and interpret words spoken in nine languages.However, this is just the beginning. Mobile voice interfaces will soon be even more commonplace allowing users to talk to a device without touching it first.
                   It was the touch screens which initially created great furore.Gone are the days when you have to fiddle with the touch screens and end scratching up. Touch screen displays are ubiquitous worldwide.Frequent touching a touchscreen display with a pointing device such as a finger can result in the gradual de-sensitization of the touchscreen to input and can ultimately lead to failure of the touchscreen. To avoid this a simple user interface for Touchless control of electrically operated equipment is being developed. EllipticLabs innovative technology lets you control your gadgets like Computers, MP3 players or mobile phones without touching them. A simple user interface for Touchless control of electrically operated equipment. Unlike other systems which depend on distance to the sensor or sensor selection this system depends on hand and or finger motions, a hand wave in a certain direction, or a flick of the hand in one area, or holding the hand in one area or pointing with one finger for example. The device is based on optical pattern recognition using a solid state optical matrix sensor with a lens to detect hand motions. This sensor is then connected to a digital image processor, which interprets the patterns of motion and outputs the results as signals to control fixtures, appliances, machinery, or any device controllable through electrical signals.

The touch less touch screen sounds like it would be nice and easy, however after closer examination it looks like it could be quite a workout. This unique screen is made by TouchKo, White Electronics Designs and Groupe 3D. The screen resembles the Nintendo Wii without the Wii Controller. With the touchless touch screen your hand doesn’t have to come in contact with the screen at all, it works by detecting your hand movements in front of it. This is a pretty unique and interesting invention, until you break out in a sweat. Now this technology doesn’t compare to the hologram-like IO2 Technologies Heliodisplay M3, but thats for anyone that has $18,100 laying around.
You probably wont see this screen in stores any time soon. Everybody loves a touch screen and when you get a gadget with touch screen the experience is really exhilarating. When the I-phone was introduced,everyone felt the same.But gradually,the exhilaration started fading. While using the phone with the finger tip or with the stylus the screen started getting lots of finger prints and scratches. When we use a screen protector; still dirty marks over such beautiful glossy screen is a strict no-no. Same thing happens with I-pod touch. . Most of the time we have to wipe the screen to get a better unobtrusive view of the screen
Sure, everybody is doing touchscreen interfaces these days, but this is the first time I’ve seen a monitor that can respond to gestures without actually having to touch the screen.The monitor, based on technology from TouchKo was recently demonstrated by White Electronic Designs and Tactyl Services at the CeBIT show. Designed for applications where touch may be difficult, such as for doctors who might be wearing surgical gloves, the display  features capacitive sensors that can read movements from up to 15cm away from the screen. Software can then translate gestures into screen commands.
Touchscreen interfaces are great, but all that touching, like foreplay, can be a little bit of a drag. Enter the wonder kids from Elliptic Labs, who are hard at work on implementing a touchless interface. The input method is, well, in thin air. The technology detects motion in 3D and requires no special worn-sensors for operation. By simply pointing at the screen,users can manipulate the object being displayed in 3D. Details are light on how this actually functions, but what we do know is this:
What is the technology behind it?
It obviously requires a sensor but the sensor is neither hand mounted nor present on the screen. The sensor can be placed either onthe table or near the screen. And the hardware setup is so compact that it can be fitted into a tiny device like a MP3 player or a mobile phone. It recognizes the position of an object from as 5 feet.
The system is capable of detecting movements in 3-dimensions without ever having to put your fingers on the screen. Their patented touchless interface doesn’t require that you wear any special sensors on your hand either. You just point at the screen (from as far as 5 feet away), and you can manipulate objects in 3D.                               
Sensors are mounted around the screen that is being used, by interacting in the line-of-sight of these sensors the motion is detected and interpreted into on-screen movements. What is to stop unintentional gestures being used as input is not entirely clear, but it looks promising nonetheless.Elliptic Labs says their technology will be easily small enough to be implemented into cell phones and the like.
Touch-less Gives Glimpse of    GBUI:
We have seen the futuristic user interfaces of movies like Minority Report and the Matrix Revolutions where people wave their hands in 3 dimensions and the computer understands what the user wants and shifts and sorts data with precision. Microsoft's XD Huang demonstrated how his company sees the future of the GUI at ITEXPO this past September in fact. But at the show, the example was in 2 dimensions, not3.The GBUI as seen in the Matrix
The GBUI as seen in Minority Report
Microsoft's vision on the UI in their Redmond headquarters and it involves lots of gestures which allow you to take applications and forward them on to others with simple hand movements. The demos included the concept of software understanding business processes and helping you work. So after reading a document - you could just push it off the side of your screen and the system would know to post it on an intranet and also send a link to a specific group of people.
Touch-less UI:
The basic idea described in the patent is that there would be sensors arrayed around the perimeter of the device capable of sensing finger movements in 3-D space. The user could use her fingers similarly to a touchphone, but actually without having to touch the screen.
Touch-less SDK:
The Touchless SDK is an open source SDK for .NET applications. It enables developers to create multi-touch based applications using a webcam for input. Color based markers defined by the user are tracked and their information is published through events to clients of the SDK. In a nutshell, the Touchless SDK enables touch without touching. Well, Microsoft Office Labs has just released “Touchless,” a webcam-driven multi-touch interface SDK that enables “touch without touching.”
Touch-less demo:
        The Touch less Demo is an open source application that anyone with a webcam can use to experience multi-touch, no geekiness required. The demo was created using the Touch less SDK and Windows Forms with C#. There are 4 fun demos: Snake - where you control a snake with a marker, Defender - up to 4 player version of a pong-like game, Map - where you can rotate, zoom, and move a map using 2 markers, and Draw  the marker is used to guess what….  draw!
Touch wall:
Touch Wall refers to the touch screen hardware setup itself; the corresponding software to run Touch Wall, which is built on a standard version of Vista, is called Plex. Touch Wall and Plex are superficially similar to Microsoft Surface, a multi-touch table computer that was introduced in 2007 and which recently became commercially available in select AT&T stores. It is a fundamentally simpler mechanical system, and is also significantly cheaper to produce. While Surface retails at around $10,000, the hardware to “turn almost anything into a multi-touch interface” for Touch Wall is just “hundreds of dollars”
Touch Wall consists of three infrared lasers that scan a surface. A camera notes when something breaks through the laser line and feeds that information back to the Plex software. Early prototypes, say Pratley and Sands, were made, simply, on a cardboard screen. A projector was used to show the Plex interface on the cardboard, and a the system worked fine. It’s also clear that the only real limit on the screen size is the projector, meaning that entire walls can easily be turned into a multi touch user interface. Scrap those white boards in the office, and make every flat surface into a touch display instead. You might even save some money.
What’s next?
Many personal computers will likely have similar screens in the near future. But touch interfaces are nothing new -- witness ATM machines.
How about getting completely out of touch? A startup called LM3Labs says it's working with major computer makers in Japan, Taiwan and the US to incorporate touch less navigation into their laptops, Called Airstrike; the system uses tiny charge-coupled device (CCD) cameras integrated into each side of the keyboard to detect user movements.
                 You can drag windows around or close them, for instance, by pointing and gesturing in midair above the keyboard.You should be able to buy an Airstrike-equipped laptop next year, with high-end stand-alone keyboards to follow.
              Any such system is unlikely to replace typing and mousing. But that's not the point. Airstrike aims to give you an occasional quick break from those activities.

     Today’s thoughts are again around user interface. Efforts are being put to better the technology day-in and day-out. The Touchless touch screen user interface can be used effectively in computers, cell phones, webcams and laptops. May be few years down the line, our body can be transformed into a virtual mouse, virtual keyboard and what not??, Our body may be turned in to an input device!

1 comment:

  1. This blog explains about the new trend towards no-touch interfaces. Thanks for sharing this information about no touch interfaces.
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