An Inexpensive Optical Multitouch System

May 18, 2011 (posted by Ng Chong) -  At the Computer Human Interaction conference in Vancouver, researchers from Texas A&M University showcased how their ZeroTouch system built using conventional infrared sensors turned a regular computer screen to a multitouch surface.  When stacking multiple layers of ZeroTouch, the researchers envisage that depth-sensing becomes possible to support 3-D multitouch experience.


Harnessing ubiquity for new designs

May 6, 2011 (posted by Ng Chong) - One fascinating form of scientific creativity consists of looking for ways to exploit something widely abundant into a unique outcome that is useful in our daily lives.  Any wall touch-sensitive interface

There are many manifestations of this type of human ingenuity in R&D.  To name a few examples, in the quest for renewable energy resources, algae has drawn much attention in the wake of global warming as a clean fuel source.  Not only does algae exist in large quantities in nature (rivers, seashores and mangrove swamps), but it also can grow in manmade ponds. 

In the field of computing, we observe that single-user applications are pervasive and many more continue to be developed for use in a non-collaborative environment.  An innovative research investigates an adaptive approach to turn single-user applications transparently into real-time multi-user collaborative versions without changing their source code. 

More recently, a team of researchers from Microsoft and the University of Washington have developed a method that can transform any wall into a touch-sensitive surface by harnessing the stray electromagnetic radiation in the environment emitted by power lines and home electronics.


Contour - an open source context-sensitive approach to user interface design

April 16, 2011 (posted by Ng Chong) - Traditionally,  data type and application have been locked in Contour context-sensitive UIa one-to-one static relationship. You access one type of data using a default application. It is very much an application-centric user environment where there is a single point of entry to your information regardless of user activities and personal usage patterns. The user interface (UI) has no awareness of user preferences for different contexts and activities.  Adapting the UI to the changing information context is the main idea behind the Contour project.  By tracking a multiplicity of data sources from the information environment and context (e.g., accelerometer data, time and date, GPS coordinates, ambient sound and light, user actions), Contour can recommend UI options that can best suit a user's needs. Contour is an intelligent component of a broader open source framework called Plasma Active, which is being developed for a range of mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones and set top boxes.

Related article: CIO