Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Input Device

Douglass Engelbart gives his revolutionary presentation in 1968 that saw the first public ...

Douglas Engelbart, the man who made point and click possible with his invention of the mouse, has died aged 88. When he first demonstrated his invention to a computer conference in San Francisco, California in 1968, it was basically a wooden shell with two metal wheels for registering movement along the X- and Y-axes. Ahead of its time, the mouse wasn’t popularized until the release of the Apple Macintosh in 1984.  Read More

The ZoomBoard system allows smartwatch users to type on their devices' tiny screens

We keep hearing about how smartwatches may replace – or at least augment – the smartphone, but how would you type on that tiny display? In some cases, where the watch is linked to a smartphone in your bag or pocket, you could just use the phone’s screen. For stand-alone smartwatches or quick messages, however, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have created the ZoomBoard system.  Read More

David Neevel's Email guitar

I must confess that the more time I spend tapping away on a computer keyboard, the more my guitars sit ignored and unplayed in the corner. This is also something that troubled Wieden+Kennedy's David Neevel. Unlike me though, he decided to do something about it. With a little help from a Roland GR-33 guitar synth, an Arduino Uno, some electronics and custom code, he managed to trick his laptop into treating his Flying V as if it was a standard keyboard input.  Read More

The Stinky Footboard is a foot-centric input device

Games have come a long way since the days of Pong and its knob controller. These days, some computer users aren't content even with a 101 key keyboard and mouse combo. This has led to input devices that attempt to bring feet into the mix, such as the SoftStep KeyWorx and Thanko USB Foot Switch. The latest foot-centric input device to catch our eye comes from Canada-based Stelulu Technology, whose Stinky Footboard is aimed at gamers for whom two hands just aren't enough.  Read More

The Minuum keyboard from Whirlscape

Indiegogo project Minuum wants to revolutionize the QWERTY keyboard on your mobile devices. The project's condensed version of a classic layout aims to provide users with a simple and quick typing solution that gives our apps a little more room to breath.  Read More

Ayanna Howard (right) and Hae Won Park (left) model the Access4Kids device that allows the...

Even those who consider themselves particularly coordinated will no doubt have been guilty of a misplaced tap here or a badly timed swipe there when using touchscreen devices. But spare a thought for children with fine motor impairments who are essentially excluded from the touchscreen device world and all its educational, entertainment and social benefits. A new device called Access4Kids aims to bring this world within reach of such users.  Read More

A new take on HOPSCOTCH is designed to motivate the user to move more but in a playful way

For people of a certain generation, "Hopscotch" will always be a game where you jump between chalk-drawn numbered rectangles. Now Fraunhofer researchers have developed an interactive version of the playground game that's designed to motivate users to learn in a fun and playful way while also helping them keep fit.  Read More

The LiveScribe Sky Wifi smartpen

This is one of the coolest toys I've played with in years. LiveScribe's smartpens have the ability to instantly digitize anything you write in a notebook and send it to a tablet or PC as a handwritten note. But here's the cool part: they can also record the sound you were hearing when you wrote those notes, timecoded to each penstroke, so, for example, you can tap on a lecture note and hear exactly what the professor was saying when you were writing it. The latest LiveScribe pen, the Sky Wifi, has built-in wireless connectivity that quickly syncs your notes, audio and all, with the ubiquitous Evernote application so you can read and play them back on your PC, tablet or smartphone. It's a fascinating device that revolutionizes the taking, usage and sharing of handwritten notes. We spent ten days with a LiveScribe Sky 4 GB.  Read More

Alec Smecher has created a text input system that translates combinations played on a digi...

As input methods like the Gauntlet, Kee4, ASETNIOP and the back-type prototype from AlphaUI effectively demonstrate, there are many novel ways to enter text into a computer system. I'll wager that few (if any) Gizmag readers would consider using a set of drums to type out messages, though. But that's precisely what Alec Smecher has done. He readily admits that it's not the most practical typing solution but it is helping him to hone his skills as a bucket banger.  Read More

Nieuwe Heren's 'Beauty and the Geek' concept incorporates a keyboard into a pair of jeans

Where to start with the "Beauty and the Geek" wearable keyboard. It's tempting to launch into a spiel about cafe-hopping hipsters that might just (and I mean just) be tempted by a pair of jeans with a built-in keyboard. Anything to lighten the load, non? But it's hard to imagine even the least self-aware urbanite willing to subject himself to the inevitable crotch-stares that BatG would surely attract - even when he's not typing. Which isn't to dismiss Nieuwe Heren's design - it does incorporate some rather neat ideas.  Read More

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