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Input Device

Devices like Smart Kapp and Livescribe's extensive line of clever pens are just some of the ways you can stream your scribbles to digital displays in real time. The thing is, though, they also require that you to write on certain purpose-built materials like whiteboards, dotted paper or even microwaveable notebooks. Looking to break free of these limitations is Israeli startup OTM Technologies – its Phree Bluetooth smartpen shoots a laser beam from its tip to allow you to write on just about any surface you like.

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With touchscreens and keyboards never far from our fingertips these days, paper notebooks might not be as essential as they once were. But there's still something pleasant, if not always convenient, about putting pen to paper. The latest book to join a growing library of digitally inspired writing platforms is Rocketbook, and it does so with an interesting twist. In addition to shooting handwritten notes and doodles to the cloud, when it fills up users can stick the book in the microwave to wipe its pages clean. Read More
While a wrist-worn smartwatch may be easier to access than a smartphone that has to be retrieved from a pocket, the things certainly have tiny screens. That could make them rather difficult to use for certain tasks, particularly ones where a larger interface area is needed. Well, that's where iSkin comes in. The experimental system allows users to control mobile devices using flexible, stretchable stickers that adhere to their skin. Read More
We've looked at various folding portable keyboards designed to make it easy for those that like some tactile feedback when entering text on mobile devices. But California-based WayTools has taken a different approach with the TextBlade keyboard, which it claims is the "most compact touch-type machine ever produced" and literally pulls apart to fit in a pocket. Read More
Today's smartphones are really more like pocket computers that also happen to make phone calls. The Gladius 5, a ruggedized phablet from Arbor, takes this truism a step further with a hand-held device that's more like a complete workplace, including the ability to make phone calls via one of two available SIM card slots. Read More
What happens when you're immersed in a virtual world – such as a game – and you want to use your real-world fingers to control your virtual fingers in that world? Well, we've already seen a number of sensor-equipped gloves, but China's Dexta Robotics is taking what it claims is a more cost-effective approach. Its Dexmo is an exoskeleton for your hand, which can even provide the user with a limited sense of touch. Read More
Drawing or making notes with a computer pen or stylus doesn't have the same feeling as using a paper and pen. Sometimes, however, you want to digitize something that you've drawn or written by hand. The new Moleskine Livescribe notebooks let you do both at the same time. Read More
Back in 2011, Google filed a patent for an unlock system for Google Glass that would use eye-tracking technology. Tokyo-based startup Fove believes the combination of a head mounted display (HMD) and eye-tracking technology has far wider applications and is working on just such a device aimed at the consumer market. Microsoft apparently agrees, having accepted the company into its Ventures Accelerator in London earlier this month. Read More
For all the input methods available, the humble keyboard remains central to most computer usage. Over time different designs have tried to perfect the mechanics, improve comfort and even project the keys. The new Ultimate Hacking Keyboard (UHK) targets configurability, ergonomics and build quality. Read More
Until recently, computer software animation developers had to manipulate characters by using their computer mouse to drag virtual limbs into poses one tedious, time-consuming key frame at a time. Now researchers at the Interactive Geometry Lab (IGL) at ETH Zurich have developed a whole new way of creating movement in virtual characters using 3D model "joysticks" that directly create shape and movement inputs. Read More
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