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Interface

— Science

Experimental brain implants pave way for touch-simulating prosthetics

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
— Computers

Ubi brings touchscreen functionality to any projection surface

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
— Electronics

AquaTop Display brings immersive entertainment to your bathroom

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
— Computers

MagPen offers a new take on the stylus

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
— Computers

Type in mid-air with a Leap Motion and DexType

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
— Music

Artiphon Instrument 1 heads for first limited production run

After tempting us with some candid studio shots last December, followed by some attention-grabbing showcasing at CES 2013 and NAMM, Artiphon has revealed that its Instrument 1 will shortly be available to buy. The professional-grade instrument leverages the processing power of a docked iPhone or iPod touch running digital music creation and recording apps, such as GarageBand or Animoog. It allows existing guitarists or piano players to use familiar playing styles in a new way, while ushering in a whole new wave of digital music noodlers. Read More
— Health & Wellbeing

DARPA uses nerve/muscle interfaces to give amputees feedback and improve control

Artificial limbs have come a long way in recent years with the development of prostheses that can be controlled directly by the patient’s nerves. The problem is, links between living nerves and the prostheses break down over time, which makes permanent attachment and practical control difficult. To understand why this happens and to help give patients more control over their prostheses, DARPA has instituted a number of programs aimed at improving neural interfaces and allowing amputees to have better control of advanced prostheses in the near term. Read More
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