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Interface

If you're the kind of DJ who is dissatisfied with having to use faders or knobs placed in a certain position on a ready-made, bog standard MIDI controller, the folks over at umidi have something that's sure to both delight and amaze. Each umidi DJ controller starts life as a blank template and, using an online creation tool, artists can select interface components and place them anywhere, in any order, and in whatever configuration that suits. The company will then build your dream umidi controller and ship it out. If this sounds a little too good to be true, then you'd be right ... for the moment. The designers behind umidi have just launched on Kickstarter to bring working concept to reality. Read More
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, a holiday in which we celebrate the blessings granted by Life, the Universe, and Everything. A central part of Thanksgiving traditions involves a massive feast, often featuring turkey or ham, and a selection of delicious side dishes. It may soon be possible to virtually experience such a repast as enjoyed by a character in a movie or a video game, aided by a new method for digitally actuating the sense of taste through electrical and thermal stimulation of the tongue. Read More
Described by its creators as the first freeform software controller, Palette is a range of buttons, dials and sliders made so that creative types can design their own hardware interfaces for their software of choice, be it for music creation, photo-editing or gaming. Read More
The Metro interface in Windows 8.1 makes sense on a touch-enabled device, but on a traditional computer, it's only an afterthought. In the first iteration of Windows 8, it was hard to get around on the desktop without the Start screen, hot corners, app switcher bar and other elements of the touch interface getting in your way. Windows 8.1 has been improved and includes features that let you boot directly to the desktop and keep Metro elements out of your way. If you prefer to stay on the traditional desktop as much as possible, here's a look at how to do it. Read More
It's something most of us take for granted, but our sense of touch is every bit as useful to us as our sight and hearing. Though it seems simple, picking up and holding an object requires nearly instantaneous sensation in the parts of our hands and fingers in contact with the desired object, as well as a sense of the pressure we're applying. Many experimental efforts to simulate a sense of touch in amputees fitted with prosthetics require the subject to learn new associations between touching an object and some abstract sensation. But new research at the University of Chicago suggests that it is possible to map the individual finger pads of a prosthetic hand to the corresponding parts of the brain. In other words, prosthetic hands which offer a realistic sense of touch may theoretically be possible. Read More
Mobile musicians wanting to feed signals from a guitar, microphone or MIDI keyboard into a music creation app running on an iPhone, iPad or Mac will likely have to carry around a few different interface units in their kit bag. The iRig PRO from IK Multimedia lightens the load by squeezing instrument, vocal and MIDI inputs into one portable device. Read More
If you’re someone who does a lot of presentations in front of images projected onto a wall, do you ever wish that you could manipulate those images with your fingers? If so, well, now you can. Ubi is a new piece of software that works with a video projector, a Kinect for Windows depth sensor and a PC running Windows 8, to turn any projection surface into a touchscreen. Read More
If you keep getting your gadgets wet because you can’t part with them while taking a bath, maybe it’s time for you to reevaluate your options. As it turns out, it only takes a Kinect camera, a projector, some waterproofed speakers, half a year of coding and an enormous amount of ingenuity to turn a regular bath into an interactive entertainment hub. And that’s exactly what a group of researchers from Koike Laboratory at Tokyo’s University of Electro-Communications have done as part of their quest to explore the field of natural user interface design. Their AquaTop Display takes immersive entertainment to a whole new level, unattainable with regular, impenetrable touch displays. Read More
The humble smartphone stylus may soon be gaining new features, thanks to a seemingly simple piece of technology. Developed by Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) PhD student Sungjae Hwang, the MagPen is essentially just a plastic tube covered in conductive tape, with conductive rubber tips at either end and a coin-shaped magnet inserted half-way down its length. Via a custom app, however, magnetometers already present in the phone are able to determine where that magnet is in relation to the screen, and respond with a variety of drawing and writing functions. Read More
The news release announcing the availability of the Leap Motion controller and supporting software isn't even cold yet, and the first applications that make use of its gesture recognition capabilities are already making a break for freedom. Asetniop creator Zack Dennis has joined the fray with an alternative to the physical keyboard he's calling DexType. Essentially a Google Chrome browser plugin, the Dex-typist uses mid-air point and poke gestures to select characters from a strip at the bottom of the screen. Read More
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