Feeds

Safer conjugal rights via electronic skin

I just want to touch

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Cruise control

Not so silly and arguably with more geek-appeal was SketchSynth which lets you draw lines and shapes on a piece of paper, then use them to control a musical synthesiser. The software basically looks at your scribblings via your computer's webcam and watches as you touch, flick and drag on them.

Now that I have discovered that these concepts are useless if you can't employ touch, I'm being forced to return to what people who don't know what they're talking about refer to as Minority Report UIs. You can see what I mean in the clip here.

I have several problems with this approach, quite apart from the one involving Tom Cruise being a total wanker. Principally, I am deeply suspicious of anything that goes out of its way to look space-age and impossible.

.

The ZeroN, for example, involves touchlessly manipulating a shiny metal sphere floating in the air in order to control architectural design software. It's amazing and magical... but it makes you feel more like a Victorian stage conjuror than an architect. Using a computer shouldn't have to be a performance art.

That said, the Ribbons hand-tracking experiment demonstrated by Helios are precisely that, yet interest me more because I can immediately see the practical implications of a system that recognises the shape of your hands - both of them - and the number of fingers you have on each. This is a computer interface for the Wii generation, and I suspect they're getting it right. Oh, and you don't need to wear gloves.

However, waving your hands in the air like you're swatting wasps lacks the complex nuance of touch. If I have to wear interface gloves, let them be made out of a cheap, pressure-sensing electronic skin of interlocking nanofibres, as devised by smart bods at Seoul National University. So far, this skin can detect the difference between a push, a rub or a tweak.

Suits you

"There's another one of those pesky spiders out on the lash. Get rid of it and you're in with a chance."
Source: Universal Pictures

Now please make me a full body radioactive protection suit of this stuff so I can invite my wife safely back into the marital bed. Hmm sexy.

Alistair DabbsAlistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling IT journalism, editorial training and digital publishing. He likes I Just Wanna Touch. He doesn't like Touch Me (I Want Your Body). He adores Can't Touch This. Get touchy-feely by adding a comment to this post or grope your way to hashtag #sftws.


Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Nice computers don’t need to go to the toilet, says Barclays
Bad computers might ask if you are Sarah Connor
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away
Brit buyers still not falling for Windows' charms
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.